In today’s digital age, online fraud and hacking are more prevalent than ever. Cybercriminals constantly devise new tactics to exploit unsuspecting individuals.

Please take the time to read about the most common and current online fraud schemes to ensure you don’t get caught out.

Identity Theft: Cybercriminals steal personal information to commit fraud. Example: A hacker gains access to an individual’s social media account, impersonating them and causing financial harm. We often see people posting ‘Don’t accept a friend request from me as I think I have been hacked’.  Set up a dual authentication to avoid someone gaining access into your social media accounts, and if your phone / laptop is stolen immediately change passwords.

Facebook Hacking and Fraud: Scammers are increasingly targeting businesses running Facebook competitions. Scam pages are set up to message competition entrants of the original, genuine business, to tell them they had won the competition and need to give a deposit, or their credit card details, in order to claim the ‘prize’.

Don’t click on any suspicious links. Short links or sensational-sounding videos are red flags for scam posts.  If you receive a notification that your account might be deleted or was hacked, log in directly through your browser rather than through the link provided in the message or email.

Review your account’s privacy settings regularly, and adjust them to protect your information from people who are not connected to you.

Be on the lookout for strange typos or wording signalling the scammer may not actually be who they say they are.

Never share personal information like your identity number or credit card info through Facebook Messenger or related platforms.

Online Courier Fraud: Victims receive notification of a parcel wherein the courier demands customs fees for releasing the parcel. In reality, the parcel does not exist. Verify any unexpected courier requests independently. This is especially prevalent during peak shopping seasons (holidays, Black Friday, etc.)  Fraudsters take advantage of the increased activity to launch scams.

So you’ve received a scam message, what next? Don’t respond to the message, and don’t open any links that might be included. Block the scammer’s email address by marking it as junk mail. Delete the message immediately.

Online Shopping Scams: Fraudulent websites sell counterfeit products or never deliver purchased items. Example: A shopper buys expensive electronics online, only to receive a cheap knockoff or nothing at all. Before shopping on a site you not familiar with, research them and ask online who has experience shopping with them, you will often received hundreds of messages of unhappy online shoppers who got caught out.

Phishing Attacks: Scammers send deceptive emails or messages, pretending to be legitimate organizations. Example: A user receives an email claiming their bank account is compromised and needs immediate action. The link provided leads to a fake website where the user unwittingly shares sensitive information.

Tips to Stay Safe Online: Safeguard yourself and your data. Stay informed and take proactive measures. Use Strong Passwords; Don’t click on suspicious links; Keep Software Updated; Avoid public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions (e.g., online banking); Adjust privacy settings on social media platforms; Limit the information you share publicly; Backup your data; Stay informed about current threats and scams.

Remain Sceptical…If something seems too good to be true, it probably is !