The online world is becoming a breeding ground for criminals and scammers trying to steal your money. One of the most common modern scams is known as the advance fee scam. If you don’t know what it is, you need to read on.
Essentially, the advance fee scam is where the scammer will trick and persuade you into sending them money in return for something greater such as a low-interest loan or a lost inheritance. And as you might have guessed, as soon as you send the money, they disappear.
Wonga’s scamwise advice is worth a read. The online lender reported that 419 people fell victim to advance fee scams in South Africa over a single year period. And this is only the number of people who reported it. Often victims can feel silly or ashamed they were tricked and don’t like to report what happened.
It has never been so important to stay ahead of these latest online scams. So, how can you do that?
The Top Tip to Avoid Online Scams: If It’s Too Good to be True…
It usually is.
Most advance fee scams are offering you something that is not on offer in the real world. You might be offered a loan with an incredibly low-interest rate. Be cautious of these low-interest loans or you could end up out of pocket.
Ask Other People
If you are unsure whether a communication is a scam or a legitimate opportunity, you should seek advice and other opinions. The first thing to do is to copy and paste the message you received into a search engine. This will bring up any discussions and usually identify scams. But don’t stop here. Also ask friends and family to look over the communication who could advise you better.
Know the Red Flags
There are several red flags that give away that any email or message you receive is a scam. Knowing these red flags will help you stay protected. They are:
- You were contacted without being asked
- You were never addressed by your name
- Their email includes spelling and grammatical errors
- The company they work for doesn’t exist
- The company they work for doesn’t have many reviews
- The email address they used doesn’t match the company emails they claim to work for
These are just some of the best ways, but there are other ways to spot a scammer!
Stay Alert Over the Phone Too!
Another type of scam that puts your money at risk is when people call your landline phone claiming you have a virus on your computer or laptop. In fact, they are trying to compromise your computer and use it to steal your personal data or money. Another over-the-phone scam is when the caller requests money to settle a court case, usually about tax.
Stay alert to these offline scams too!