Identify the bait
Get in the mindset of a scammer. For catching a gigantic fish, they are ready to sacrifice a small fish.
A popular form of such scam plays out like this: A stranger calls you and tells you that you overpaid an account. She will help you get the money back.
For that you must provide your card details. You are glad to get back your “overpaid” money back in your account. You do get the money back as promised. The lady calls again to confirm.
You thank her, she tells you her name is Tara and requests you to give her an honest review, if her manager calls. You promise.
Tara is now in your good books. After a month or so Tara calls again, and zestfully tells you, “Hey! You overpaid again last month.”
She tells you this time the amount is more than $50 so, few more details are needed. Trusting her, and why not, you provide the details happily. She has
your full digital identity now.
As promised, you receive your $51.05 in your account. You do not suspect a thing. You think Tara
is a good person. Really? Later, when you are declined a loan, you realize you had lost your identity for a bait of little more than $50 set by Tara skillfully.
Let us now discuss how to stop a scam.
You could use a spam blocker and email filter from your service provider or get it as a paid service.
This may help reduce the spams you get and thus
the probability of you getting scammed, too.
Remember though, not all scams can be identified and blocked automatically at the entry-point.
Some spams would invariably find their way to reach
You must exercise discretion on every online message, verify the intention of the sender and the authenticity of the source before sharing your personal information, credit card details, bank account or health information.
Also, before somebody tempts you to double-click on a link sent to you, please confirm the following: Why this person is asking me to click on this link? How am I sure the message has come from the person it claims to be and not spoofed by someone else?
The golden rule of cyber safety is this:
“Think once before clicking, think twice before double-clicking.”
Finally, if all your efforts to spot and stop a scam fail and you do fall pray of a scam or a fraud, the question is how would you know you have been scammed?
Well, there are known manifestations of a scam such as your credit card or your bank account may have unknown entries, your credit application may be declined, your credit rating may show a sudden drop, your contacts complain of scams coming their way from your email address.
If you are in such an unfortunate condition, and would like to know how to contact the right law Enforcement Agency, visit the website, www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds and choose the option, “Report Scams and Frauds.”
For cyber safety, just reinterpret and adapt your childhood learning of physical safety. That is all.
Interpret “Don’t talk to strangers” as “Don’t interact with unknown and unauthenticated people online.”
Interpret “Don’t take candy from strangers” as “Don’t take a bait from a scammer.”
Interpret “Don’t go to unknown places” as “Don’t double-click on unknown links.”
“If it doesn't feel right, it is not right” does not need any new interpretation. It remains sound advice both in physical and cyber space.