These days if you own a mobile phone the likelihood of being targeted by a scammer are very high. So, a little knowledge on typical scams is a must and can save you money and a whole load of misery and trouble from scams that come via
A Call or Message
People lose a lot of money to phone call and messaging scams. Sometimes from people they have met in passing and handed out their number. Or, through a scammer that spends their whole day calling or texting random numbers. And it is very likely for that number to be yours.
Very often the scammer will be friendly and very engaging and will approach you in a way that you lean towards trusting them. They may identify themselves as being from a government agency, bank, recruitment agency, school, Tax Department, a vague family friend or an “admirer”. But, they will give a fake name. And that number on the caller ID will most likely be fake too.
The scam, will be; an offer to put you at the head of a recruitment line, find you a place to rent, an offer to help you get a tax refund, to get you a place at a college. Or you will be offered a “free” trial on a product. Others will tell you that you have won a prize.
In a typical prize scam, the caller will say you’ve won a prize, but then say you need to pay a registration or delivery fee to get it. Or may ask for your bank details to deposit the winnings after you pay. You disclose the details, pay the deposit and then you find out there is no prize. As there never was a prize. What you may find is that funds have been removed from your account.
Yet another scam is the lottery win. A scammer will simply tell you that you have won the lottery and ask you to send your bank details…and maybe a small administration fee. This is where you should hang up. If you did not enter a lottery and even if you did, if you have to pay to get the prize- it’s a red flag. Hang up!
Friends and Followers
Most friends and people you follow online will post their day to day peeves, hopes and dreams. And will comment and rant. Then there are others that will push for their favourite charities. Unfortunately there are a lot of charity scams circulating as some scammers like to pose as charities. Or fund raisers for an urgent cause.
They have no qualms in requesting for donations for disaster relief efforts, for a terminally ill person, for a school that is about to close because of a lack of equipment and so on. Some even use a celebrity or person in high office as a front (probably without the knowledge and approval of the person) and try to get what they can from you.
Before you donate, always check out the charity. Call the organization or the person they are representing. If you cannot reach them, ask around and hear from other people what the experience was. Don’t feel pressured to give immediately.
Another scam is the “let us increase your followers”. The message will typically come from someone you follow and they follow you. And they will ask you to click on a link that will take you to a site that will help you increase your follower numbers. After you click on this you will find that you are locked out of your account, your device starts to misbehave or even crashes. Delete, unfollow or block! Do not open.
Lastly, well worth mentioning is the very old scam that comes as a pyramid scheme. Typically, you will be asked for money to join, they may be products for you to sell and you will have to recruit members to earn points. The originator of the scheme is typically lost in the ether: you cannot or will be hard pressed to trace them and there will be no legitimate company or organization backing it up. You will be enticed by being told that the rewards are triple fold with no actual work or effort. This is your red flag…run!