5 ways to spot an online scam

We’ve all been there, we clicking an e-mail or message that wasn’t what it looked like.

Did you wake up to an email telling you you’ve become a millionaire overnight? Or maybe DHL needs money to release the package you never ordered. Did the police find something illegal and need you to pay $3,000 or else? 

Online scams. We’ve all been targeted, and some of us have even fallen prey to them. Here are five things to look out for when you’re not sure if that SMS or email you received is legit.

1. Urgency

Scammers will push you to make a quick decision by saying things like you owe money to a government agency or that you will be arrested if you don’t pay the fine within 24 hours. They may also pretend to be a family member in danger who needs money urgently. If you don’t have time to think it through, it’s probably a scam.

2. Requests for sensitive information

If you are asked for sensitive information such as your bank details, passwords, or PIN numbers, it’s most likely malicious. Banks or other entities will never ask for this sort of data, especially not over an email or SMS. 

3. Invitations to click 

Fishy links are usually phishing. If you do not recognise the link, or if the link has been shortened in any way, or even if you simply do not recognise the sends, it’s probably a scam. Never click on anything unless you are 100% who the sender is and what the link contains.

4. Requests for unexpected payment

Remember those Maltapost customs fees everyone on the rock received? If you are required to pay something, you’ll receive an email from an official organisation with a trackable email address, so watch out.

5. Too good to be true

Did you suddenly win $75,000? I’d say congrats, but I’d rather say that if it is too good to be true, it probably is. These kinds of emails are followed with requests for bank details and other sensitive information, which is another red flag. 

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