SCAM! This is definitely not the first time you have heard this word, and it wont be the last. Scams and scammers are as old as man itself, only they get modified and better with age and technology. These fraudulent schemes have ripped off wealth from a thousand and one people, making them bankrupt even before they realize. This article will guide you through in five steps on everything you need to know about this money laundering scheme – how to identify it, avoid it and handle it if already webbed into it.
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1. How To Identify Scams
Scams come in different ways and scammers are smart enough to make it look so genuine so you suspect nothing. You need to be hyper sensitive for easy identification of their tricks. You can be scammed through emails, text messages and calls. If you have ever received an email from an African prince wanting to share his fortune with you, or a plea from someone stranded overseas needing $1,000 to get home and will pay back ASAP, or a lottery you’ve won in Italy – even though you don’t live there, and have never entered a lottery there. Then that is exactly what we are talking about. They are all scam schemes.
Scams can also come in form of a mail from a bank you do not have an account with, or an emergency business deal, admission into your choice university, payment for online shopping, interview for a job you didn’t apply for, or even an unsuspected call from an old high school friend you don’t remember. You should always raise an eye brow over any message you are unsure how the sender got your details.
Another way to identify scams is when the message from a ‘retailer’ or ‘bank” is badly constructed and full of typo’s and misspellings. Banks and retailers are very skeptical about emails they send, so bad grammar, dodgy spelling and poor punctuation are likely to be from people who don’t care about spellings – scammers.
The following Scams are Currently Common in the UK
- Calls from someone claiming to be from a Government department or representative, talking about reclaiming bank charges, PPI or CPP.
- Council tax refund emails.
- Pension liberation.
- Pyramid selling schemes.
- Miracle cures or miracle weight-loss pills – ketones are common, and appear on many people’s Facebook pages.
- Investment scams.
- Deceptive prize draws and sweepstakes.
- Get-rich-quick schemes.
- Fake court summons emails.
- Fake psychics.
- Free antivirus software download/upgrade
- Bank Upgrade.
- Password reset.
2. How To Know You Have Been Scammed
If you are not sensitive enough to identify a scam, you should at least know when you have been scammed, so you don’t keep floating on their terms. There are a couple of ways to identify this problem. It’s easy does not require secret agent skills to carry out the investigation: The moment you do have a clear understanding or sincere explanation about your bank account transactions, there may be a scam issue. When you have additional financial products pop up on your credit report that you don’t remember taking out, have a deep re-think. If you are expecting a bank statement meant for your address and it is over two weeks due for delivering – this could also be a sign of ID fraud. If you have always had a good credit history and then all of a sudden you credit card is rejected. Something might be wrong.
3. What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed
The first thing after identifying for sure that you are a fraud prey, is not to weep over your present loss, but to protect your future loss. This is what you should do. End all further communication immediately with the scammers, if you’ve already responded the scammers, if you’ve already responded. Call your bank and cancel any recurring payments and report the scam to the police in your country, through Action Fraud.
4. How To Get Your My Money Back
This is most unlikely to pay off 100% of the times, but it is worth trying. If it was an online transaction that was made, your first port of call is the company or person that took your money. See to it that you get your money back from them. If you bought something worth $100 or more on a credit card, you may be able to claim it back under a little-known law: Section 75. Once you’ve paid using a credit card, the card provider and retailer are locked into a legally binding contract, so if the retailer can’t or won’t refund you, you can raise the dispute with your card provider. Unfortunately, if you’ve transferred the money using sites such as MoneyGram, Western Union or PayPal, you will not be able to get your money back since you’ve automatically handed it over.
5. How To Avoid Future Scams
Scammers are addicted to finding more creative ways to get your cash and won’t stop until they have successfully milked you dry. Whenever you get a suspicious mail of such, do not reply. Scammers only succeed with greedy people. Your response to such mails shows you are interested and only a greedy person would be thrilled ripping where he didn’t sow. NEVER give your personal or password details (for example, your mother’s maiden name or place of birth) to anyone.
Tell them you’ll ring back, and do that with after if you have verified the authenticity of the caller and motive. Even when its genuine, do not give away your future. It’s also wise not to have an easy to guess PIN – so don’t pick 0000 or 1234 or your birthday digits, anyone who knows you can figure that out. NEVER click on a link from your mail to enter your password – no matter how genuine it looks. If it looks like a genuine security concern, call your bank or visit its published web address. Do not also open an email attachment unless you’re 100% sure of its contents, not to talk of paying to redeem a prize you won – it’s fraudulent.
Also, you need to be careful of urgent deadlines. In the real sense, nothing needs to be done at the spot. This is the scheme of a con man to round-up his transaction before he gets caught. Even if your account has been hacked and you need to quickly rectify that, simply call the number on your bank statement. If you’re being asked to hit a deadline, something fishy is probably going on.
Finally, watch out for companies that address you as ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. Genuine companies usually use “Dear Customer” to hit their point. But any other variation like “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Valued Customer” should mean something phishy. Now that you know a thing or thing about scams, you can test your skills by playing a small prank on a friend. Nothing complicated, just cook something up by yourself. The only way to do this is to think like a fraudster and you know what, the moment you start thinking like a scammer your chances of being scammed reduces because a scammer cannot be scammed.
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