While most of us have heard about the dangers of internet scams, how much do you really know? Sure, an email addressing you as “My Dearest Friend” and then informing you that someone dying in Uganda has £60 million they want to give to you is a good clue for most!
However, internet scammers are increasingly becoming more high-tech. Some scammers have even infiltrated large, corporate entities.
BBC News reported that in 2011, the United Kingdom saw a dramatic increase in fraud. According to BBC News, fraud “broke the £2bn barrier in 2011 but this was dwarfed by the levels of fraud that go unreported.” Phishing scams were a prevalent type of fraud; retail and tax frauds in the United Kingdom were also prevalent. Phishing refers to internet scammers fishing for your personal information for their own use.
Avoiding Phishing Scams
If you receive an email asking you for personal information, then you should be wary. Internet scammers frequently use the pretext that something went wrong with a recent transaction. If you suspect foul play, then you easily take proactive steps to protect yourself. For instance, you can research the company’s phone number to verify if there are any issues.
While internet phishing scams are growing, other trends add to this new culture of suspicion. Bob Howard from BBC News explains that many financial institutions are relying on automated systems to reach their customers quicker and more efficiently. Naturally, many individuals are suspicious of automated calls asking them for their personal information. A Nationwide representative urged customers to “key the caller number into the internet to check it” before sharing personal information. Nationwide legitimately use automated calls.
PayPal: Case Study
While many customers regard PayPal as a trustworthy source, phishing PayPal scams are growing. PayPal internet scammers are after your money and your identity. While the scammers will ask for your personal information via email, PayPal never will. Be wary because scammers will craft professional emails with the PayPal logo and header to trick you. The email will also be sent from a PayPal address. However, you should also check if any other individuals are carbon copied (CC’ed) on that email or if the “reply to” email also comes from PayPal. Scammers might also try to get you to wire them money through PayPal. Many ask you to wire them money before they send you an item. PayPal will never ask you to wire them money; this is an instant scam alert.