I have been watching the Nigel Latta show on how to avoid scams (TV1, Monday nights at 8pm). I will say that it is enough to give you nightmares. Some of the scams are just so sophisticated and the lengths that the scammers are prepared to go to are just crazy. I have had 2 clients fall victim to online scams in recent times, so this subject is very fresh right now!
I have been doing some googling and this is a summary list of suggestions of how to try to avoid being scammed:
- Scammers put pressure on you to act quickly. If you are feeling pressurised to act quickly, step back and say that you want to think about it, or just step away.
- If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. One of the recent term deposit scans was someone pretending to be Citibank and offering a term deposit at 6.95%, when the official Citibank Australia website is offering 4.95%. Citibank NZ does not offer term deposits.
- Never click a link in an email. If I get a link in an email, I will ring the provider that sent me the email (if it is logical that they would send me an email i.e. they are someone that I use/work with) and ask them about the email with the link, in case it is something that I have to actually do! If it is not from someone that I deal with, I delete it.
- If an email has spelling mistakes, or the email address doesn’t match the person/company sending the email, this is a massive red flag. Sometimes, if you hit “reply”, you will see that an email address changes. This is also a red flag that it is a scam email. Nigel Latta sent a fake scan email to people that he works with, asking them to click a link to pay for parking at the business premises. Nigel’s name was spelt wrong and the email address was weird………but over 40% of the people that the email went to clicked the link!!!!! One of the people interviewed even admitted that he thought that it was weird that they had spelled Nigel’s name incorrectly but he still clicked on the link!
- If you click something and put in bank account or credit card details and then think “this is wrong”, contact your bank immediately. You can also block a credit card as “stolen” on your bank’s internet banking portal. That stops any transactions going through until you have had a chance to sort it out.
- Other major red flags include if you are asked to pay for something in an unusual or specific way (pressy cards / bitcoin / PayPal) or you are asked to set up a new account or PayID.
Scamwatch Australia say that one in three victims of a scam have been scammed more than once. The person who initially participates in a scam is then a focus of the scammers for future scams.
Keep safe out there!!!
Janet Natta is a financial adviser and director of Smart Money Advice, offering investment portfolio construction and management services to clients throughout NZ, as well as comprehensive financial planning advice to assist clients to build and protect wealth to achieve their dreams.
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