Don’t get scammed! Stay safe with Loans 2 Go
Safe unsecured personal loans from Loans 2 Go…
We’ve all heard horror stories about people being scammed. Whether on the news or a friend of a friend, we know that people lose money – sometimes their life savings – to various scams. And we think that it could never happen to us.
But it could.
So here are our tips about how to recognise a scam and protect yourself. Also how to report a scam if you realise that you are being targeted.
How to recognise a scam
Firstly, what exactly is a scam? Put simply, it is a dishonest and fraudulent way of getting you to part with your money. As we will see, there are various ways it can happen. But as a starting point you should always be on your guard about anything to do with money or investment, and have in the back of your mind that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
Some of the most common types of scam are:
- Phishing emails
- Unsolicited phone calls
- Identity theft
Let’s take a quick look at each of these:
A phishing email can take various different forms, but the aim is to get either information or money from you. Phishing emails are often designed to look like they come from a source you trust, for example your bank, credit card company, online payment website or online store.
Phishing emails will usually start with some fake but worrying news about your account. For example that there is a problem with it, there has been some suspicious activity on it, or they need you to confirm some personal information in order to keep the account going.
There will then be a link to click which supposedly goes to the company’s website but which will actually go to a fake website that they have set up. If you click on the link and enter your information they will then have access to whatever details you give them. This website may also download viruses onto your computer, or steal your passwords.
Once scammers have your personal information, they can use this for all kinds of purposes. For example they can apply for bank accounts, credit cards or state benefits in your name. Depending what information you have given them, they may also be able to login to any of your existing accounts and do whatever transactions they like.
Unsolicited phone calls or texts
Cold-call phone scams are known as vishing. Again, they take various forms. Some involve fraudsters posing as trusted individuals – eg bank, HMRC, police – supposedly offering you help or advice. Others may seemingly be trying to inform you about an exciting job or investment opportunity. Still others will claim to be from an energy or insurance or car accident compensation company, promising ways you can get money back.
Depending on how the scammers obtained your information they may also know your name and other information about you. Which may make you think it’s ok to talk to them. But don’t be fooled: the aim behind any kind of call of this nature is to get your information and, ultimately, your money.
How to protect yourself from a scam
There are two main ways to protect yourself from scammers.
The first is to make sure that you are using all available features on your technical devices to protect you. Whether you use a computer or phone or both, do as many of the following as you can:
- Install all new security updates immediately they are released. If possible, set your device to do this automatically.
- Make sure that you have good security software on your device.
- Check emails regularly. Empty your spam folder and delete anything else that looks dodgy.
- Experiment with email filters, for example to put mail from unknown senders into a separate folder. You can also block specific email senders and phone numbers.
- Protect your online accounts by changing passwords regularly and using multi-factor authentication. This means that you go through two steps to log in eg a password and either text code or face recognition.
- Be very careful not to give too much personal information away on social media sites, and make sure that your settings are private so that only your friends can see them.
The second way to protect yourself from being scammed is to always be on your guard. Double check every email and phone call to see if it is genuine. Don’t feel obliged to give personal information to someone just because they are asking you for it, and never disclose secure financial information such as pin numbers or passwords to anyone else.
If in doubt, don’t respond to the phone call or email, but get in touch with the company through your normal channels eg their website or phone number.
How to report a scam
If you receive a spam email, call or text, there are various organisations that you can complain to.
You can forward emails to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at firstname.lastname@example.org. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will then analyse the suspect email and any websites it links to, and will take action if they discover activity that they believe is malicious.
For phone calls or texts you can report them by completing an online form on the Action Fraud website.
Either way, your report of a phishing email or vishing call could help to protect other people from being affected.
What to do if you realise you’ve been scammed?
If you think a scammer has your personal information, you may be in danger of identity theft. Check out the Action Fraud advice on what to do if this has happened to you.
If you think you’ve been scammed into transferring money online, you need to call your bank immediately. If you do this straight away it may be possible for them to either stop the transaction from going ahead or to get your money back from the scammer’s account. You should be able to find details of this account from your online banking payments section. You should also contact the scammer’s bank to explain what has happened and see if they can halt the money.
If you have made a payment to the scammer using credit card, debit card or Paypal these payment methods each have some level of protection that may help you. You need to contact your payment provider as soon as possible to see what can be done.
So do be careful with your information – particularly your financial information – as there are sadly a lot of dishonest people out there.
If you need reliable and trustworthy help with your finances during these difficult times, then do get in touch with us at Loans 2 Go. We have a range of unsecured personal loans that could be just right for your circumstances.
Stay safe, and remember to check here soon for more financial and lifestyle tips from Loans 2 Go.