The golden age of the internet has given us ease of connectivity and instant online payments. No wonder it’s also the golden age of the scammer. Here are a few tips on how to spot a scam …

  • You are promised investment returns that are too good to be true.
  • You are asked to pay in advance.
  • You are asked to make a quick decision.
  • You are asked for your credit card or bank account details.
  • It’s not clear exactly who you’re dealing with.
  • You are asked to click on an email link.
  • The message has suspicious wording.

And here are some common scams doing the rounds …

The friend in need – the scammer hacks a friend’s email and tells you they are abroad, their money and cards have been lost or stolen and they need you to wire money to them immediately.

The tax refund – you get an email from ‘Revenue’ telling you to click on a link to claim a tax refund.

The lottery win – out of the blue an email tells you have won a prize (in a draw you have not entered) which you can claim by paying a small administration fee.

The premium rate con – you’re told you’ve just won the holiday of a lifetime but you have to call a (very expensive) premium rate hotline to get the details.

The philanthropist – an African king or a Saudi prince has for reasons unknown chosen you as their beneficiary if only you’d give them your bank details.

The bogus company – an email from your bank (or EBay or PayPal or Netflix…) asks you for account details and password.

The Microsoft scam – a phone call warns you that your computer is at risk from a security threat which they can fix if you just give them some information…

The scammers are getting more inventive all the time so watch out and if you have been scammed you should contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.