Keeping safe from scammers

Bob GilmoreBob Gilmore Tutor – ICT and Computing, Tai Poutini Polytechnic

Computer or phone scams target everyone, regardless of your age, background or income. They succeed because they look or sound like the real thing and catch us out because we want to be polite or helpful.

Here are a few tips to help protect yourself from computer scams.

  • Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only met someone online do a little research. If they provide you with a photo, you can search for it using Google Image Search (http://images.google.com) and see if they are who they say they are.
  • Many scams are documented online. Check a website like http://www.snopes.com which has information on thousands of scams, including current scams.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can’t win a lottery you didn’t enter and a stranger isn’t going to give you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Never send money, credit card details or personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Watch out for friend or contact requests from people you already have contact with. Many scammers steal someone’s identity, set up a fake account and then attempt to scam that person’s real friends.
  • Other scams start with a stranger making unsolicited contact via phone, email or social media; a cold call. If you haven’t requested a product or service, be wary. Never be pressured into doing something immediately. A real business will be happy for you to call them back. Ask for their contact details and contact them back if you’re interested.
  • The contact may get abusive. They might use intimidating or threatening language or even threaten legal action, police involvement or worse. If this happens, break contact immediately. Hang up, mark the emails as spam or block the user on social media.

The key is to take your time, do some research, talk to friends and don’t be pressured. The internet and social media are part of our everyday lives, so it’s more important than ever before to protect yourself against possible scams and ensure you’re safe online.

Have a Safe and Merry Christmas from TPP!

Tai Poutini Polytechnic offers a range of Business and I.T programmes including: Business Administration, Computing, Information and Technology and Business.

Enrolments now open for 2017. Contact TPP today, Freephone 0800 TPP INFO or visit www.tpp.ac.nz

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