Suspicious phone calls and emails

Online cyber scams are becoming more complex and sophisticated and even 'tech savvy' people are becoming caught up in them. In this section we look at some common phone and email scams. This website offers some useful pointers -

The fake phone call from your bank scam.

A common scam is a fake call from your bank alerting you to a potential fraud in your bank account. As the call progresses, the scammer manipulates account details and passwords out of you, giving them access to your account and emptying it at a later time. Don't provide these details to anyone calling you. Hang up instead and report it to the police and your bank. Banks will never ask you for your password, they might ask for the 1 and forth number of a password, but never all of it. Be very careful when calling back a number the scammer gives you as this could be a premium rate number the scammer will profit from.

The Technical support phone call scam.

In this scam, the caller typically says they are from a well-known company like Microsoft or Apple and have detected an error on a person's computer or tablet. They will then talk the victim through a series of steps to "fix" the problem. What is actually happening is you are downloading software that will hijack your computer giving the caller remote access to it. Scammers use it to gather sensitive data or install ransomware, which requires a payment to unlock a computer's files. this is a common scam aimed at older people who lack the technical knowledge and become frightened by what the scammer is telling them. Never allow remote software to be installed from a call you have not instigated.

The money transfer phone call scam

A typical phone scam is where the scammer calls to say they are from a courier company and they can't deliver a parcel until an excess postage payment is paid for, they will ask for a card payment to cover the very small amount for the postage and then use your details to purchase other items. This can be stopped if you setup two step authentication on your online payments. Whenever a transaction takes please you will be sent a code to your phone or email to approve the payment. Obviously scammers can't get access to this message

Phishing Emails

Many people receive links, photos, slideshows or videos which are funny from their friends, they then forward these on to others. Be very careful as these can contain hidden code which can install phishing/malware software onto your computer, as funny as they are don't open these files or links. Delete them and make sure your virus and computer security software is up to date as most reputable software will spot these threats.

The 'too good to be true' emails

People are easily sucked into really good deals at certain times of the year, you receive what appears to be a really good deal from a reputable company via email and click onto a link but this is a fake website whose address/url is similar to the original company but the website is a fake site waiting to take your order that will never arrive. The websites might be a perfect clone of an online company but the deals will be the place that don't show up anywhere else. Be very wary of things that look to good to be true. This is where due diligence and more research skills are needed - again check the website address URL, check for latest scams on online forums. If in doubt do not enter your details.

Suspicious emails and phone calls

Have you ever received a suspicious phone call or email scam?