BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
In today’s fast-paced digital world, we are not immune to the rising threat of fraudulent scams targeting all of us through text messages, emails, and phone calls. These clever schemes have become a significant concern for people of all ages and backgrounds, leading to significant financial losses, emotional distress, and compromised personal information.
Fraudulent scams are everywhere and pose a real and growing risk. Cybercriminals employ sophisticated tactics, next to perfect messages and emails using identities and the faces of well-known people that appear trustworthy.
Recent statistics indicate that the number of scam attempts through text messages, emails, and phone calls has been on the rise, warranting increased vigilance and awareness.
When it comes to financial advice through financial advisors, the Central Bank of Ireland has warned that fraudsters are increasingly using legitimate firms’ details to add an air of legitimacy to their fraud. The fraud typically involves the ‘firm’ cold-calling members of the public. The fraudsters will ‘borrow’ all the legitimate information of an authorised firm for the purpose of this fraud. They may quote authorisation numbers and links to seemingly legitimate websites and even provide the real address of an authorised firm.
If in doubt check the bank’s register to verify a firms details and call the firm back directly using its advertised phone number.
According to many article and online blogs, technological advancements have played a significant role in facilitating fraudulent scams. Cybercriminals access and exploit vast databases and personal information to craft tailored messages that will appear genuine and relevant to your situation.
Automated systems enable mass communications, allowing scammers to reach more people making it more likely to find vulnerable victims. With the anonymity offered by the internet and the ease of creating fake profiles scammers can avoid detection and evade accountability.
With advent of AI we are coming to a place where we will doubt our nearest and dearest.
But the old school scams still have traction. Like phishing scams; emails and text messages tricking you into divulging sensitive information like passwords, credit card details, or personal identification numbers (PINs). Automated phone calls impersonating government agencies or financial institutions, coercing individuals into sharing sensitive information over the phone.
Another very common scam is the offer of tech support from a well know IT company claiming your computer is infected with viruses or malware. They try to persuade you to give them remote access to your computer to fix the problem. Don’t!
Unbelievably after all the horror stories and warnings there are unfortunates who still fall for the lottery and prize scams; unsolicited messages claiming that the recipient has won a lottery or prize luring victims into revealing personal information or making payments to claim their non-existent winnings.
The consequences of falling victim to these scams can be devastating. Beyond financial losses, victims often experience feelings of shame, betrayal, and powerlessness and have compromised their personal information’ in many a case leading to identity theft, risking their financial security and reputation.
Be aware and, if you have reason to be suspicious, please remember that, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls and texts, in fact ignore them and if they are legitimate they will contact you again. Always verify requests from the company in question by contacting them directly through official channels to confirm the legitimacy of any claims or requests.
Before shopping online enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) giving you greater security. Instead of being asked for one identification method like a password, 2FA/SCA provides more protection as it uses two methods of identification to confirm it’s you. This means when you’re shopping online, we may need to confirm that it’s really you who are using your card. The easiest way to avail of this is to use your bank’s app.
Be sceptical and exercise caution, better to look foolish that being a fool and legitimate companies will understand.
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