What you should have learned in school: How to identify a scam

AROMA THERON

Every week Perdeby takes a look at something you should have learned at school to assist you in day-to-day life. This week, we take a look at how to identify a scam.

Today, the internet has made almost everything easier. Whether you need recommendations for a restaurant, the cell phone number of a plumber or maybe just funny videos about cats to relax. But the internet is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows and the fact is that it has the potential to disrupt or destroy your life. To help you avoid this possibility,  Perdeby, compiled a list to help you identify and delete those scams and malevolent emails.

 

The golden question
This question is of course: does it sound too good to be true? This little question that you have to ask yourself when confronting a scam, can quickly stop the scam in its tracks without wasting any of your precious time. Ask yourself: “Did I really sign-up for the lottery?” or, “What are the chances that I won R100 000 from a competition that I never even heard of?" Scams are designed to convince you that they are legitimate and so they might even use your personal information to mislead you.

 

Key loggers
A specific type of scam to look out for is called a key logger, which is a computer program that records the keystrokes that you enter. In this way, the key logger retrieves information like your PINs, passwords and usernames. A key target of these types of scams are internet cafés, where they simply insert the spyware into the computers. So, refrain from disclosing this confidential information when using an internet café. Key loggers can also be hidden in an email attachment, so refrain from opening attachments from an unknown recipient.

 

Phishing
This specific type of scam refers to when an email claims to be from a reliable organisation, like a bank, but attempts to trick you into supplying your account information. It usually includes a link that launches a fake website that is designed to look similar to your bank’s website. These emails will normal try to provoke you by saying things like: “You have been a victim of fraud, so to cancel your bank card please click on the link below to supply your account information.” So, don’t feel like you can ever be too careful with emails such as these and follow up on them by questioning your bank.

 

Fake websites
Another way to identity the above-mentioned phishing scams is to pay attention to the URL (website address in the bar) before clicking on the link, by hovering your cursor over the link. If it is not the same as your bank’s usual URL but seems very similar then this is an indication that you are on a fake website. You should also pay attention to the letters at the start of the URL. If it starts with ‘http’ then this is probably a bad, insecure website but if it starts with ‘https’ then the website is (usually) secure and safe.

 

Perdeby hopes that these tips have brought you some clarity on how a scam can be identified and now you are equipped to fight virtual crime.

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