Are You Smarter Than A Web Scammer? Take This Test To Find Out
This quick online quiz pits your digital savviness against the increasing creativity of financial and identity theft phishing schemes, and apparently, fewer than one in 10 people score 100 percent.
Created as part of the UK government’s “Take Five To Stop Fraud Week” (January 22-26), the test shows users eight hypothetical scenarios ranging from email messages to text alerts that you must label as either legitimate or a scam.
And forget Nigerian princes needing a quick loan, because sketchy con artists have really upped their game in recent years.
If you failed to spot all the questionable signs, try to remember some key advice: No genuine bank or institution will try to elicit your passwords, PINs, or usernames; nor would they request for you to move money to another account.
Secondly, never click on a link in a text or email that you don’t absolutely trust. Even if it appears to be from a company you are very familiar with. These links may send you to a false version of a website, often with a very convincing façade, that prompts you to enter personal details. Alternatively, the link may initiate the download of a malware file onto your computer.
In 2017, a sophisticated scam masquerading as a Google Chrome pop-up tricked many users into downloading an “update” necessary to fix a text file issue.
At around the same time last year, a phony email circulated that looked, for all intents and purposes, to be a notification that someone shared a Google Doc with you. If you clicked through to gain access to the document, you would be directed to a legitimate Google page that listed your various accounts. But when you clicked on the “Google Docs” link, you were really granting scammers access to all your personal details and emails via a nasty third-party plug-in.
In the same vein, never open attachments on mysterious emails.
If you’re ever unsure of an email’s origins, hover over the recipient field. Often the sender’s address will appear legit in preview mode but is actually obviously sketchy when you read the whole thing.
For phone-based scams, the campaign recommends always using a trusted phone number to respond to the financial institution or individual claiming to be contacting you. The number listed could be a fraudster waiting to ask you to verbally share sensitive information. If you do call the number in a questionable text or email, big giveaways of deceitfulness are requests to transfer funds for “safe-keeping” as well as attempts to instill a sense of urgency.
Finally, if you’re guilty of doing many of these no-nos and scored badly on the quiz, take heart in knowing that you’re not alone. The campaign reports that financial fraud losses totaled £768.8 million in 2016.
Now go change your passwords and stay safe!