The world seems to be an increasingly bleak place. Even those of us who weren’t alive to see the golden old days find ourselves dreaming about their innocence. Of course, you could argue that news wasn’t so widely spread back then. Who’s to say people didn’t hear about the bad things that were happening? That’s a fair point, but it’s hard to believe things were as bad as they are now. With children going missing, terrorist attacks in London, and now the emergence of chemical weapons in Syria; things don’t feel like they could get much worse.
And, it’s not only world affairs that are causing us problems. Many issues lie closer to home. And no, we’re not talking about Brexit. We’re talking about the worrying increase in money scams taking place on our doorsteps. While we’re distracted with the big issues, people with know-how are finding new ways to take our money all the time. And, in this fragile financial climate, it’s a problem we could do without. The good news is, this is one crisis that you can easily do something about. Knowledge is prevention, so here are the most common scams to look out for.
We all use the internet like it’s an extension of our souls, is it any wonder then that online scams are on the rise? The trouble is that the scammers move as fast as technology does. As soon as we get to grips with one scam, another is already at large. A survey by This Is Money revealed that 53 per cent of people view online crimes as seriously as those that take place in the real world. So, this is no small problem.
In general, look out for entering your card details anywhere online. Sites like Paypal make it easier to stay safe while shopping on the internet. In general, a site which allows you to pay through Paypal is a safe bet. Look out also for junk email and suspicious links. If malware gets into your system, your hacker won’t need you to enter your bank details. They’ll be able to access everything and are sure to find a way to the information they need. It should also go without saying that you shouldn’t give money to anyone who asks for it on social media etc. Even if you’ve been talking to them for a while and see it as an act of kindness, it could still be an elaborate scam!
HOUSE SELLING SCAMS
It doesn’t get much more stressful than moving house. It also doesn’t get more expensive. So, it should come as no surprise that real estate is another place where scams run riot. When you’re dealing with such large amounts of money, you can never be too careful. Knowing what scams to look out for should go some way towards protecting you. For the most part, you should always operate through well-known estate agents. Though, that’s not always enough to keep you safe. Scammers can pose as the official companies you’re already dealing with. There’s a deposit scam, for example, where a scammer poses as an official company. They wait until you’re ready to pay the deposit, then email with alternative bank account details. They claim this is due to their regular account ‘being audited’. If anything like this happens, it should ring alarm bells straight away. Instead of emailing, call the company in question to authenticate the claims made.
It’s also worth mentioning cash home buyers. These are one of the worst culprits for modern-day real estate scams. We’ve all heard of companies who give you a quote to sell your house for cash. There are some cash buy companies out there who are above board and worth using. But, a lot of the time, these kinds of businesses are looking to scam you. Sometimes, they simply act as middlemen between you and real cash buyers, leaving you out of pocket. Other times, they’ll offer you a high price, then drop it at the last minute.
CASH MACHINE CORRUPTION
We all know to look out at cash machines, but do you know the real risks involved? Cash machine scams are big business. They provide scammers with cards and numbers. If you think a cash machine has been tampered with, don’t use it. You need to look out for skimmer attachments, which record card details, cameras and card traps. You should also always be wary of people around you at cash points.