Financial fraud continues to rise, and the internet has only made it easier for scammers and fraudsters to reach unsuspecting victims through many different means – whether it be through voice calls, emails, SMS, or even instant messages.
With that in mind, we’ve got 5 easy tips to share to keep yourself safe and alert.
Verify unsolicited emails, calls, and SMSs
Fraudsters and scammers will often try to contact you directly to sell you a ‘loan’, or another product – whether through email, call, or SMS. Should you receive unsolicited – that is, unasked for – communications from any company, it’s important to verify their contact details and to make sure that they are who they say they are.
When checking a suspicious email, make sure that the email address listed matches the person or business that you’re speaking to. Misspellings, or a domain name that doesn’t match up with the company or persona a sender is claiming to represent, can be a dead giveaway that a fraudulent activity is taking place.
Some mobile apps, such as Truecaller and Showcaller, can also identify whether a contact number that is being used to reach you either over voice call or SMS is fraudulent or not. If you remain unsure, you can always contact a businesses’ customer service center to verify whether a call or message was in fact legitimate.
Check the terms and services offered
Another easy way to verify if a proposed offer is legitimate is to check whether it actually matches up to the terms and services offered by the person or business in question. For example, Wonga only offers loans of up to R4000 for new customers, and up to R8000 for new customers, which are repayable from 4 days to 6 months – and any person or business claiming to offer loans for more than these amounts or for longer periods isn’t the real Wonga.co.za.
Ensure your browser is secure
Often, savvy fraudsters can use your online browsing history or an unsecured internet connection to either steal your information, offer you ‘services’ that you might be interested in, or otherwise pretend to be a legitimate company.
When browsing from your phone, laptop, or other electronic device, ensure that you never do so (and especially never log in to private services, such as online banking) from public Wi-Fi hotspots or other unsecure internet connections.
Further, to check that you’re on a legitimate website, look for a green padlock icon in the top URL bar to verify that your connection is secure.
Don’t pay upfront for trial services or applications
Some services or online applications might offer you a trial or otherwise ask you to pay an upfront application fee before you can begin to use it in full. Usually, free trials are just that – free – and should not require your credit card details or another form of payment before you become a paying user on a longer-term basis.
At Wonga, we don’t charge application fees or any other form of up-front deposit. If you receive a message requesting either of these before receiving a loan, you can report it to our fraud department on - 0861 968 424 or email us at [email protected].
Sign up for free scam alerts
If you use a variety of online services or feel like you don’t always have the time to verify an offer, you can subscribe to free scam alerts which can help you flag fraudulent offers. Scam alert services such as scambuster.co.za frequently post the latest scams which you can use to stay alert, while adjusting your email client’s filter settings can automatically delete suspicious offerings before they reach your inbox.
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