Protecting yourself and your money from scammers may seem easy, but with more advanced scams being developed by those who have time on their hands and the capabilities to make these look and sound convincing, it’s not always as straightforward as you might think.
Some phone calls can be quite convincing, with the caller claiming to be from your specific bank or another financial provider, and already having information about you that you would expect your bank to know. However, these facts can be gained in other, often illegal or underhand ways.
If you’re wondering, who called me from a random number, then it makes sense to search the number online using a reputable site. Sites like UknownPhone can show you reports from other people who have received calls from the same number, and whether the caller is who they say they are or a scammer.
Even if the number seems genuine, don’t give out your personal information to anyone calling you. If they are genuine, you can call the number you usually use to talk to them or log in from a secure device with anti-virus software, using the URL you always use. Don’t confirm or deny any of the questions they ask, as that could help them gather more information on you for future scam attempts. Just hang up straight away. No reputable company will call you this way, and a genuine company would understand your reluctance to give out personal information.
Don’t transfer money
If you’re asked to transfer money to another account, don’t do it. The person calling might claim this is to protect your money, but it’s almost certain to have the opposite result, and you will never see your money again. Some scammers use fear to trick people into transferring money. They will claim you owe the bank or HMRC, and by not paying, you will go to jail or lose your home. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this and haven’t had any official letters or other legitimate communication about it, you don’t owe this money and you are talking to a scammer. Again, you should hang up immediately, and block the number.
Don’t respond to pressure
Many scams work because the scammer puts pressure on the victim, with short deadlines, or insisting they act immediately. Often, they will tell you not to discuss this with anyone else, but while trying to make it sound as if this is in your best interests and nobody else can be trusted. This prevents the would-be-victim from taking time to think rationally or talk to a friend, family member or someone from their genuine provider. The scammer doesn’t want to give you time to figure out the scam until it’s too late and they have your money.
So, to protect your money from scammers, it’s important not to share information with random callers or anyone emailing you from an unofficial email address. If you’re unsure about anything, always think it through, talk to someone you trust, and don’t respond to pressure tactics.
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