Five common online scams to be aware of
Falling prey to online scams can be easy in today’s digital world where there are so many touchpoints, channels and apps vying for our time and sophisticated fraudsters out there doing everything they can to make websites and interactions appear legitimate.
The forex market is more secure than ever before following the introduction of regulations by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC), but it is still possible to be caught out online. Offshore, unregulated brokers can cause issues, as can shady practices such as offering wider-than-normal spreads for major currency pairs.
If you are looking to delve into foreign currency investment, you should check Alpari reviews to find out whether the broker’s services are trustworthy and meet your needs. With any form of investment, stocks and shares included, it is always important to be vigilant online and to conduct research before making any decisions.
Online auction sites are awash with listings featuring fake goods or stolen items. These listings generally feature a bulk quantity and a bargain price, which nets the fraudster a large amount of money even though they have no intention of shipping any products.
To protect yourself from fraud on eBay, for example, never use a bank transfer as payment as you will have no protection when something goes wrong. Using a third-party provider such as PayPal or a credit card is recommended. If you have been scammed for an item worth up to £30,000, you can make a Section 75 claim in the UK to claim it back.
There is big business in copying government websites to sell fake driving licences and passports. A UK couple were recently jailed for 35 years after thousands of people unknowingly bought documents from one of these websites, which generally charge exorbitant fees for processes that are often free.
You may already have seen a few phishing scams in your own email inbox or spam folder. Fraudsters attempt to use legitimate-looking emails from an official source such as Apple, HSBC or HMRC to get you to click through to a page where you log into an account and input bank details or malicious software is instantly downloaded.
It is unlikely that banks or internet companies will include personal details in emails or ask you to take “urgent action” over an issue, so always be on the lookout for potential scams. Your email client is also likely to offer a warning if the message seems dangerous.
Big sporting events and music festivals are a magnet for sophisticated scammers who may send forged tickets or duplicate copies in place of the real thing. A recent study found that one in 10 millennials have fallen foul of ticket fraud.
To lower the risk of being caught out, always try to purchase directly from the venue’s website if possible, research the seller beforehand, and be aware of the refund policy and potential avenues to getting your money back if something goes wrong.
A few other online scams to keep an eye out for include pension, employment, investment and tech support scams.
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