Some people online will try to trick or scam us. Young people can be particularly vulnerable to scams, and the first step in supporting them to be ‘scam aware’ is knowing the different ways someone might try to scam both them and you.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) say that people are more likely to fall victim to fraud than any other crime. They estimated that fraud costs around £190bn each year- that’s a lot!
What should you know
Scams have a few things in common:
How to Protect Yourself from Scams
Protect yourself by limiting the amount of personal information that is made public or shared with close contacts on social media. Your personal information is very valuable and social media platforms encourage us to share this on our profile.
Think: Are any of the answers to password/security questions listed on your Facebook profile e.g. your school, where you were born, your pets name, your mother’s maiden name etc. If there is, accepting friend requests from people you don’t know, or even sharing this information publicly could put you at risk.
Keep your computer’s antivirus and firewall up to date, run regular scans and action updates ASAP.
These updates include security patches for the software you use. Don’t send or enter sensitive personal information on unsecured websites or networks- reliable websites always start with HTTPS not HTTP (look out for the padlock beside the web address).
Remember everything you send on public Wi-Fi network can be intercepted. Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) if sending personal information over public Wi-Fi.
It’s easy to let your guard down if someone sounds confident on the phone. If someone calls and asks to speak to you, guard your personal information. Someone should not ask you to provide personal details to verify your identity- they called you. Be careful of long silences, bad connections and odd sounding people.
In certain circumstances banks may call you- it’s OK to hang up and call them back using a trusted phone number.
Use enhanced security options
2 factor authentication means using a code generator or your phone number to verify your identity. This means even with your password, a fraudster still needs access to an additional code. The extra layer of security can help you feel more confident and protect your information.
This is when phishing attacks are highly targeted and aimed at managers, leadership teams and CEOs. It is said to be one of the biggest risks facing businesses and institutions because of the use of sophisticated emails and sometimes follow up phone calls. Scammers use similar emails that appear to come from existing senior members of staff asking their teams for urgent payments or the purchase of gift cards.
Users should not click any links or reply to suspected cases, instead they should verify requests to protect themselves and their organisation. Checking the email matches the real person will help establish if this is a real request.