My Scam Awareness Posts

In these posts I talk about the occasional scams that have come to my notice, usually by email but also by post or phone, in order to make people aware of them.

I’ve also posted a video looking at a few of the earliest scam emails I posted about.

I also strongly recommend watching videos by scambaiters including Jim Browning and NeeP, which expose telephone and computer scams and the people that run them.

Email Advice

Here are some common warning signs to look for in scam emails. If you see any of these, even if it’s just one, then be extremely careful:

  • A “From” address that is clearly unrelated to the company.
  • A “To” address that isn’t yours. If you can’t see your address, then you’re on a blind copy list to multiple people, so the email clearly isn’t just for you.
  • salutation that doesn’t address you by name e.g. “Dear Customer”. Again proves that it isn’t personal.
  • Grammar & spelling errors, even if they’re occasional small ones.
  • Dodgy link addresses. Never click a link in a suspicious email. Just hover your mouse over it to examine the address. Look for the first single forward slash (/), as whatever comes just before it is where it’s really going. Anything after it is irrelevant.

Ultimately, if you’re ever unsure about an email, even slightly, then never use any links or contact details in the message. Instead, find the real company’s website yourself and contact them via the details they provide there.

Phonecall Advice

Here are some tips when it comes to unsolicited phonecalls:

  • If an unexpected tech support person calls, claiming they’ve noticed something wrong with your computer, it’s a common scam. Never give them access to your PC.
  • Your bank will NEVER ask for your card details, PIN number, etc. They don’t need it, they already have it. Anybody asking for this is guaranteed to be fake.
  • Bank scammers may also tell you put the phone down and ring the bank yourself to check they’re real. However, they will NOT hang up when you do, so when you pick up again and dial, they’ll just pretend to be the bank. So instead, use your mobile to ring the bank separately, and make sure it’s a number you’ve looked up online or on your bank statements, NOT a number the scammer has given you.
  • If an unfamiliar company calls to offer you a service, don’t take it. Even if they claim to be a company you already know, don’t sign up for anything unless you’re absolutely, perfectly sure that they’re legitimate, because anyone can ring and claim they’re from somewhere. If in ANY doubt, contact the company by email or social media, or a contact telephone number from their official website.

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