Cybercriminals target desperate people in January, taking advantage of their dire financial situation. Their goal is to get you to share personal information by luring you into a false sense of security. The best way to protect yourself is to know the signs of a scam and then take steps to protect yourself. Prevention is always better than cure. But one of the challenges is spotting a scam: how do we know if the offer, email, phone call, or SMS is legit?
Well, there are signs you can look out for. Let's find out what they are.
- It sounds too good to be true
Be wary of online offers that sound amazing. Sales that consist of steep discounts on unknown websites are usually baiting the victim to click on a malicious link. What follows is a phishing attempt to get the victim to share their banking and personal details in exchange for a product: usually a loan or an item, which (you guessed it!) never existed.
Read more: How to spot an online shopping scam
- You're required to confirm your details by clicking a link
As a rule, you should never click on links in strange emails or SMSs. These links usually download a virus onto your device or lead you to a malicious site. You should also never open attachments in suspicious-looking emails. In fact, it's best to simply delete these messages and emails immediately.
- You've won a prize in a competition you never entered
SMSs and emails encouraging you to claim a prize for a competition you've never entered are a red flag. The safest thing to do is delete the email or SMS immediately.
Criminals are extremely creative today and it can be hard to spot a scam, so if you do get caught and believe your information has been compromised, change your internet banking credentials immediately and advise your bank accordingly.