As we start a new year, the news stories remain the same. There are more and more threats of malware attacks and the latest scams, so it's a timely reminder to be vigilant.
Scams aren't just hitting our emails; they're now attacking our social media platforms, text messages, online chats, and there are the usual phone scams.
Phone scams aren't always easy to identify. You receive a call from a well-known organisation or government agency, so why would you necessarily suspect anything? But they have a way to obtain personal information or even gain access to your funds, or both.
Tech scams are probably the most common of phone scams. The caller will present themselves from a known software company and try to convince you there is an issue with a device that only they can fix. They will try to install malware as part of the repair, and of course, there will be a fee to pay! If you find yourself a victim of such a scam or another IT-related issue, BizWiseIT can assist. We work with local businesses across Crawley and Gatwick, and the West Sussex region.
Other scams may be via charity requests, the caller playing on your emotions, and requesting an urgent donation for some appeal. But at the end of the day, all you're doing is lining someone else's pocket, and no charity will benefit from your kind donation.
Extending warranties is another common threat, whether for a car or a product you've purchased. These can be hard to identify, especially if it's a pre-recorded message, as you're more likely to follow the prompts of the message. If you're in any doubt, hang up and call the provider or dealership from where you purchased the product or car.
So, what can you do to prevent these calls?
Try screening your calls. Generally, the ID will be withheld, or it will be a number you don't recognise, so let these calls go to voicemail. The caller will leave a message if it's important, but if it is a scam, it'll just flag it as a missed call.
However, some scammers are getting better at faking an ID. If you find yourself talking to someone you don't want to, just hang up! Don't press any buttons or respond.
Call blocking is another way to fight off scammers. Many phone carriers will offer a service that identifies if a number may be suspicious or spam. You can also register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) for both your home and mobile phone number.
If you think you've been the victim of a telephone scam, you can report it. For more information, visit the Ofcom website.