How To Spot Online Fraudsters: Seven Steps

We want to think that we’re pretty savvy when it comes to online scams and that we won’t fool, but sadly Fraudsters (cyber-criminals) are becoming increasingly cunning. They are finding more and more conducts to trick unsuspecting individuals out of their money or personal information, making it harder to spot these online fraudsters.

But don’t panic; this doesn’t mean you destined to fall for a scam. If you identify what to look out for, it can be easier to spot the signs and therefore avoid becoming a victim. To help you stay alert, Evalian has pulled together a list of the top seven signs that Fraudsters are targeting you. If you find any of the following, it’s a good idea to dig deeper before sharing any of your personal information or making any payment.

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1. Fraudsters have contacted you out of the Blue

Online scammers are increasingly posing as banks, HMRC, or governing bodies to try and get you to part with your information. By pretending to be those that we are supposed to trust, they hope that individuals will be more forthcoming. So, if you’ve communicated out of the blue by someone claiming to be the bank, HMRC, or even a company trying to sell you something, be sure to verify the identity of the caller before giving anything away.

If you’re feeling unsure about the validity of a caller, it’s best to hang up and call the company directly. That way, they’ll be able to tell you if someone was genuinely in contact or if a scammer has targeted you.

When it comes to making a more significant investment or moving money around, you should make the first contact with the bank or company, that way you know it’s legitimate, what’s more, if you can make the transaction in person, even better.

2. Fraudsters are Asking for Personal Details

According to a Which? Scammers have targeted study, around 62% of people in the last 12 months. As part of these scams, many criminals will ask you to divulge your details. Again, you mustn’t give anything away until you’re able to confirm the identity of the person you’re dealing with. You should also be very specific before sharing your bank details over the phone.

It’s worth remembering that many legitimate businesses might ask for specific characters of your password, but very rarely will they ask for your entire password, so this could be a red flag.

Another warning sign is receiving a call or email asking for lots of personal information when it’s not necessary. For example, if someone phones up claiming to be the bank, they should never be asking for your pin code.

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3. The Deal is too Decent to be True

Are they offering you 89% off your purchase or claiming that they can make you millions? If so, it’s probably a scam. As an overall rule, if something looks too good to be true, that’s because it probably is.

Don’t get taken in by the promise of enormous saving or making large sums of money. Of course, there are some companies out there that can offer legitimately significant savings, but don’t rush into anything. If you receive communications saying that someone promises very high returns for little financial commitment, it’s best to dig a little deeper.

4. You haven’t used their Goods or Services

Have you received an invoice or request for payment, but you don’t remember what you purchased? It is a popular scam amongst online criminals. No one likes to fall behind on payments, and online fraudsters rely on this fact.

And while it is entirely plausible that you could have made a purchase but don’t recognize the name on the invoice, it is unlikely that you couldn’t work out what is base on the price and your recent spending. So if something feels off about an invoice or payment request, don’t pay it! Look into the company and compare it with your bank statements and recent purchases.

5. Fraudsters are putting Pressure on you

Another thing that fraudsters rely on is the fact that no one likes to put under pressure, therefore if they push you to make a quick decision or a prompt payment, you will panic and do it.

If someone is hurrying you, this is a sign that it could be a scam. Legitimate businesses and salesmen will always give you space to decide because they don’t want you to feel pressured.

Another way that scammers pile on the pressure is by making threats. Any genuine company asking for payment will still professionally approach you.

So be cautious if you receive an email or phone call that uses hyperbole and aggressive language, or makes threats such as ‘failure to pay in the next 12 hours will lead to legal action which will affect your credit rating in the future and result in you taken to court’.

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6. There’s lots of Spelling or Grammatical Errors

Legitimate businesses or bodies will make sure that all communications sent to customers or users of their services are proofread several times before being sent out.

Very rarely will there be glaringly obvious spelling or grammatical mistakes, and if there are, these are usually a one-off. So if you receive jumbled and confusing messages full of errors, or potentially an email that looks as if the text has put through a translator, this is a huge warning sign that fraudsters are targeting you.

7. Their Contact details are Vague

Finally, if you’re dealing with a genuine business, you’ll be able to find their contact details with a quick Google search. So, if someone has contacted you and provided very vague contact details such as a PO Box address or a premium-rate number, you should be careful.

If something goes wrong and you only have unclear contact details, you won’t be able to chase them up in the future. Not to mention, this is a clear sign of a scam. Mobile numbers and premium-rate numbers are hard to trace, as is a PO Box address.

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