Hook, Line & Sinker
Be alert, be aware and avoid being reeled into any dodgy scheme, system, or scam that will sting your back pocket by taking notice and due caution from the alerts, warnings, examples and preventative measures you can take in the first part of our scam awareness series.
Protecting yourself and your personal details online or in any forum is becoming a pressing issue in today’s society. It seems that each and every week a new scam pops up in the media. The good news is, heightened media awareness and acknowledgement identifies the potential risks we face and prepares us, if and when we are placed in positions of uncertainty and vulnerability.
- Just this month a Dunedin man lost 70K to an online financial scam.
- Or the Auckland case where $30k was lost as part of an elaborate phone scam.
- Or the recent imposter Inland Revenue Department New Zealand (IRD) scam which fished for consumer credit card details.
We could provide an endless chain of scam stories of sophisticated online syndicates who are duping vulnerable New Zealanders out of millions each year.
Scams, via email or phone, are a continuing problem for New Zealanders. Last year Kiwis lost $10 million in online scams alone. For a detailed spate of recent scams implicit to everyday New Zealanders see the NZ Herald’s account – its worth a read.
Scams are evolving, becoming more and more elaborate and essentially placing us on edge and in a state of uneasiness. Gone are the days of the simple, easy-to-read email from a Nigerian Prince or a distant ‘long-lost relative’ who had inherited a fortune, with you kindly selected to share their newfound wealth with. Simply by providing your bank details. If you’ve fallen victim to one of these scams, you’re not alone but please sharpen up.
As technology advances and scam protection increases, as does the approaches and tactics scammers are taking to breach your securities. Prepare yourself for potential scam attempts by following some of the action steps below;
Check the URLs before you click on them:
If you receive a link for a website from an email, hover your mouse over the URL and check to see if it matches up with the known website before you click into it. Also with any messages, you receive, try to judge the tone and check for misspellings and check to see if it is consistent with others from the retailer. Like many of the other actions provided here, if in doubt avoid making any decisions.
Check for the HTTPS:
As a follow up to checking the URLs, also check to see if they have ‘HTTPS.’ The extra ‘s’ stands for secure and as an extra layer to the regular HTTP application. It encrypts and decrypts the data of the interaction between you and the website so that other people out there cannot get a hold of the information. So check for the extra ‘s’ and if the website doesn’t have one, then don’t give it confidential information.
Don’t save your card details:
We are all guilty of being lazy sometimes when it comes to auto-fill fields, but please don’t do it with your debit or credit card details. Having these details there on your computer could mean anyone could do some unexpected online shopping on your machine at your expense. Just fill in the fields yourself and don’t let any website remember your card details.
You need a password for everything these days, and it is easy to fall into the ‘one password for all accounts’ mentality. Avoid this. Imagine if someone non-trustworthy captured this password, then they would essentially have free reign on all sorts of personal details, accounts, subscriptions, card details and more. Rotate your passwords regularly and ensure you have different passwords for different accounts. Same goes for security questions.
If you do doubt any material you may be receiving, get in touch with your local provider. Or perhaps check the alleged company’s social media page to see if others have received similar messages. We all know Social Media’s instant messaging and awareness capability. Companies are fast to dismiss any scams that drag them into the mix, due to the retribution and public backlash that may be experienced as a consequence.
You will often find that when an issue such as a scam is raised, the news travels like wildfire. This is good for raising awareness of the issues at hand and alerting others of potential pitfalls. However, this does not eradicate the original issue which may have the potential to severely harm those involved, mentally and financially. Be aware, be alert and prepared so next time a 50-50 email arrives in your inbox you have the know-how to avoid or ignore the scam.