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Beware of scammers

Beware of scammers

We are all targeted daily by increasingly sophisticated scammers attempting to get our personal details or con us out of our money. Scammers rely on catching us off guard. Protect yourself by taking these measures:

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Consider the possibility that a person or a deal may be shady, particularly if you have not met the person or have never heard of the company. Job offers with unrealistic salary offers and paid vacations are common scams. Offers to purchase precious minerals such as gold or diamonds at highly discounted prices are probably a hoax. Confirm the legitimacy of the entity before parting with your money.
  2. Delete suspicious texts and ignore pop-up windows. Unsolicited emails are often the start of a scam. It may be a phishing email where the scammer attempts to trick you into giving out personal information details for fraudulent purposes such as bank account numbers, passwords and credit card. They often use fake email addresses to deceive you.
  3. Protect your mobile devices and computers by using passwords, backing up and updating security software. Do not allow remote access to your computer by strangers, even if they say they are from Telkom. Choose passwords which include a mix of upper and lower case, numbers and symbols en keep your passwords confidential.
  4. Companies should beware of unfamiliar overseas companies trying to lure them to their country. Research the company before entering into business dealings and ensure that the people you are dealing with have the authority to trade with your company. This is often a scam to get you to pay for a ‘celebration’ of the ‘future business dealings’ once you are in the country and to get you to pay.
  5. Be cautious of individuals you have met on the internet. Unsuspecting individuals have been used as drug mules in the past by these ‘chance’ encounters.
  6. Holidaying in a foreign country puts you at risk of scammers. The three most common scams are:
  • A person approaches you pretending to be from law enforcement and demands to see your identification or hand over your passport. They may then write down your details for later (fraudulent) use or keep your passport. It is best to confirm the legitimacy of the officer before handing over your passport. Call the Consular Emergency Centre (+61 2 6261 3305) [http://smartraveller.gov.au/help/me/overseas/passport-visa/passport/pages/lost-stolen.aspx] in case of emergency.
  • ‘Free’ WiFi is often offered in public places, but it can be run by hackers to access your personal or sensitive information. It is advisable to purchase a portable WiFi router or to confirm with the concierge that you have the correct log-in details.
  • Research transport options in the foreign country before departing, especially if you are planning to make use of a taxi. Unsuspecting tourists have been scammed where they have been held hostage by the driver and forced to withdraw cash from their accounts or taken advantage of. It is best to ask your travel agent or hotel for details of reputable taxi services.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission lists types of scams on www.scamwatch.gov.au. If you have been a victim of a scam, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au/get-help/where-to-get-help for assistance.

Source: www.scamwatch.gov.au

 

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