Scam, scam, scam, scam and more scams

Scams come in various forms but are different methods used by criminals to get you to part with personal information or your money and are full of pitfalls for the less tech-savvy amongst us.

The latest email scam I’ve come across relies on your familiarity with the sender. We’ve all had messages from HSBC, Lloyds or RBS and wondered why a bank who you don’t have an account with is sending you messages. So they’re easy to delete, whether you know they’re a scam or not. Well they are, so delete, delete, delete.

But now emails purporting to come from BT (how many of us either have a BT landline or use them for broadband) asking you to reply confirming your personal details and in some cases, your email password. Never under any circumstances reply to emails like this and certainly never hand on your personal details. BT would never contact you in this way and would never ask for such information. Replying to an email like this only confirms to the scammer that your email address exists. Your address will then be used to send out the same sort of scam email that you received in the first place to thousands if not millions of other people. What will probably happen, is that your email account will be suspended by your provider – and it’s a bit of a nightmare to get it back. So keep your wits about you when handling your emails.

I’ve written before about those phone calls from ‘Microsoft’ or ‘Windows’ telling you that you have a problem with your computer. These people are becoming very clever – and very persistent. Now there are reports of calls coming from BT telling you that you haven’t paid your bill and you’ll be cut off if you don’t pay it there and then. Don’t start a conversation with the caller, it only encourages them. Just hang up and don’t answer the phone for the next hour.

Most of us have an answering service, so why not make more use of it? If a friend or family member wants to talk to you, they’ll leave a message if it’s important. Otherwise, if it’s a scam phone call they’ll ring off if you don’t answer. Gone are the days when we felt we had to answer a ringing phone – just let it ring and if someone really wants to speak to you, they’ll leave a message.

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