What to do about scams and fraud (Updated)

We first published this post about Scams way back in 2013, and much has changed since then. Security is now a top priority for companies and individuals. With the introduction of the European Union “General Data Protection Regulation” ( GDPR) coming in force on 25th May 2018, companies are now having to take much better care of a persons private data. You should also take care of your private data.

But what about steps every user of the Internet should take?

There are many scams going on at the moment, some are very sophisticated. Some look like your local bank, or the Post Office, some like PayPal or Express Mail, complete with tracking numbers and even the full company address. You have to be on your guard everyday. Naturally there are some steps you can take to minimise opening these emails. If you run a small business with company emails, all the staff need to be trained in what to look for, and to report anything suspicious.

Use a Anti-Virus Program

Private and business email users should install and operate only with a high quality Anti-Virus program, there are 2 or 3 market leaders, which automatically upload updates direct from the company, on a subscription basis. We use IObit and Norton Security which have proved very reliable.

Never open an email if you are not certain who it is from

Scams from criminals and fraudsters

The modern spam email looks very good, and you can see nothing wrong with the information. Some have a range of buttons or links to click on. Never ever do that, because,depending on the link, it can load key logging software which will record your every action and send the details to an email address. It might load some malware software, to collect all your email addresses, passwords or even customer details. A quick check is the see if the email address is already in your address book, or if the address is exactly the same as you would normally expect. An example  xzy@paypal.com  is not the same as xzy@paypal-mail.com

Beware of all Websites without https

A highly respectable website could be the front for organised crime. We all do it, search on the web for information, see a site that looks like it has the information we need and load the site. Protecting yourself Anti-Virus software helps, but if you need to complete a form, send in personal information, purchase with a credit card, then this is left for to you to check the site is legitimate. Check that the website starts with https this means the data shared between you and the website is encrypted. For more information, check out the free guide to ssl and https.

Check out an interesting information website how criminals and fraudsters work.

Who to contact if you are in trouble

Firstly, do not use the same computer that has been infected. Contact your computer support company as soon as possible. If it is email fraud or scams, then there are places you can complete a complaint report.

  • Internet Crime Complaint Center which should be the first place to report your case. The FBI are part of this organisation.
  • Better Business Bureau For Americans and Canadians. If the website or email comes from North America, start here and locate the city the website operates from.
  • Action Fraud UK Police  Mainly for the UK, but does accept complaints from other countries.

If you know of other complaint addresses, please use the contact form.