How do I know if it’s a scam?

Seriously, few things are more annoying than having your email inbox flooded with dodgy emails pretending to be something they aren’t. My Junk Mail needs to be emptied constantly, with messages saying “My Dearest Friend, let’s connect”  or ” I live in the USA  and I have $900,000,000,000 to invest and your surname is the same as my second uncle’s cousin twice removed, so we won’t get caught, let’s do it, swing me your bank details and I will make the deposit, I swear, it’s legit!”

Facebook comments from your friend on your post all like “Om.G ChecK Out H0W I Lost 10 PouNDs ——>>” followed by a totally legit looking link, usually with “bit.ly” existing somewhere in it’s content.

Now, this leads me to writing this somewhat satirical piece of literature – I know, if any of you are like me, you trash those emails straight away, and you don’t click the link for fear of strange advice being posted to Facebook friends on weight loss  (really dangerous topic to advise people on by the way, I have literally seen a comment “SO YOU THINK I’M FAT!”) but the reality is that some people DO fall for it, or the scamsters and trolls would not keep it up.

Some scams are better than others, they look so legit, the banks have to back themselves promising they won’t ask you to confirm your info via SMS or Email. My latest fave is the SARS scam – you get an email stating you’re owed a refund of a couple thousand from SARS and you click the link and BOOM.. but then DOOM. When I got that, I was like “Yay money”, then I was like “hold up, SARS wouldn’t even pay me back my 50c I overpaid them”.

Others are not necessarily vindictive in nature, but aim for the person to share a link on social media just to get viral hits or make them look a wee bit silly.

So how do we recognize a scam? (These are basic and easy warning signs.)

  1. Anybody calling you “My Dearest”
  2. Really bad English and grammer – dead giveaway
  3. Any email saying they are a bank or other financial institution
  4. Anyone offering you free money
  5. If anywhere on the documentation it mentions Western Union – DODGE
  6. Weird email addresses – like absa.accounts@gmail.com
  7. Any requests to follow a link to confirm personal details
  8. Dodgy looking links – like http://e-dlogs.rta.mi.th:84/www.irs.gov/
  9. A Facebook post telling you to share it to get some vouchers or more free stuff
  10. A Facebook post telling you to share it and magically the image will change or some nonsense

 

So what can happen if we click these links or give away information? There is no telling what sort of evil is lurking in these links – sometimes they have a virus that can get into your PC after opening the link, which can take usernames and passwords, or other personal and contact information. It really is better to avoid these links entirely and stay alert – some hackers are very good at what they do, and the email that looks like a banks email, with a link, may take you to what we call a phishing site – it takes you to a website that looks almost identical to the ordinary website. Then they make you login to what would apparently be your account, but is in fact a scam site that logs what you put in the username and password boxes.

Here is a link to see how Facebook scams work:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/bakit-kailangan-pang-kumuha-ng-subject-na-hindi-naman-related-sa-course/facebook-scam-links-annoying-and-dangerous-by-missouri-st-information-security/10150304058060760/

HAHAHAHA if you clicked that you failed the lesson.

Just kidding. It’s a real link, kinda looks dodgy, but it’s an article I swear!

 

 

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