Internet Security Or Common Sense
Thursday 28th June 2012 1:11 PM
We are still hearing stories of how someone has been duped yet again in an online fraud & virus' still being downloaded. I recently read a story on the BBC website of how a girl was moving to London to go to university and found a flat to rent with 2 bedrooms for £85 pw in a nice safe area of London. The girl didn't make the time to view the property, as she lived in Birmingham and fell victim to what has become an increasingly popular scam.
The fraudster places ads online for properties to rent. Once a prospective tenant gets in touch it quickly becomes apparent that the keys are not with an agency due to a bad experience of some sort (or a similarly tall tale). The keys will be posted from the USA or an African country upon receipt of proof (via email) of a transfer to a bank of the fraudster's choice (Western Union in this case) for the rent and deposit. Any further requests to gain access and view are generally ignored followed by sympathy tale of how they have had an accident of some sort and presses for the payment to be made. In this case as the girl was in a hurry to find somewhere so she paid £400 into the account, after transferring the girl was having second thoughts about passing on the transfer details to the so called 'landlord' - but she did as she was in need of finding a place to stay in a hurry. Needless to say the money and flat had gone, with a hole in her pocket and still nowhere to stay she had learnt a costly lesson. If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is!
We must ensure we make all possible checks, and if you aren't in a position to do your homework on XYZ ltd or Mr Swipeit then you need to ask if it is worth the risk and remind yourself of the horror stories. Would you lend your phone to a stranger in the street? Yet with something far more valuable credit card details & personal information etc we don't show the same restraint. The internet brought about the faceless transactions and stress free shopping from the comfort of our armchairs so is this the cause of our complacency, well in short no. I feel that there is always someone looking for a free meal and so if you make it easy for them to take something of yours OR worse, let them talk you into giving it to them - more fool you!
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online fraudsters and their tricks, they will continue to develop new ways of lightening your bank balance so we must re-educate ourselves and protect what we work hard for.
Trading Standards do urge websites to do more to stop these crimes from happening and are rightly concerned at the scale of these scams.
If you feel you have been scammed ripped off or conned you should contact Action Fraud by visiting their website or calling on 0300 123 2040
Posted 1:11 PM | Permalink