Top 12 things to know to avoid being scammed, a short guide to stop being a sucker

We live in a dangerous and unforgiving world, each wrong step or excess of naivety could cause you a mountain of truly boring problems, like this time when after giving my credit card number to someone pretending to be for my banker I found myself the happy owner of a nightclub in Budapest. It was obviously a scam, and I’m not the only idiot to have fallen into the trap, that’s why we wanted to remind you of a few things on this subject, in order to avoid you being the turkey stuffing and to spot serious scams, not scams accepted by everyone.

On the phone

1. Never share your bank details (really never)

Whether it’s live or by phone, no one has the right to ask you for your identifiers or bank codes, it’s a basic principle and probably the most important of all: never divulge them. Even if you are given the pretext of an emergency by telephone, making you believe that someone is emptying your account or this kind of stuff, don’t give anything at all: even your banker has no right to ask you for them.

2. Not trusting the number that appears on your screen

When you receive a call on your phone with a text indicating that it is your bank (for example “Caisse d’Epargne”) tell yourself that it is very easy to arrange to display this type of text or choose a number that will not be a 01. This is in no way a sign of authenticity and very generally the famous “banker” will ask you for your banking information: this is where you can be sure that it is a scam.

3. Don’t Panic or Trust Too Quickly

The term “spoofing”, or identity theft is more and more frequent and generally the scammer pretends to be a public service or your bank. When you are going to be called, the person you will have on the phone may know certain details about you, because a search has been carried out and this is how you would be tempted to believe that it is your banker and trust too quickly. Another aspect can be used, that of making you believe in an emergency of the type “someone is emptying your account I need your codes quickly”, it’s obviously bullshit, and if you want to be sure hang up and call your real bank to verify.

4. Do not call back an unknown number that leaves you no message

What are called “ping calls” are the famous missed calls you receive: your ringtone rings once or twice and you don’t have time to pick up. So you call the person to check and you arrive on a waiting thing for a premium rate number, so every second spent is a bit of dough that you give to the scammers. Once again, if you don’t know the number, if you don’t get a message or, on the contrary, the message doesn’t seem “normal”, you don’t call back.

5. Do not click on an SMS link that tells you you have a missed message or to download an MMS

You will sometimes receive an SMS telling you that you have a message to listen to or an MMS to download waiting. Except that when you have a message to listen to, your mailbox tells you, and when you have an MMS to download, you receive it in the contact’s conversation. It is therefore a scam, you will click on the link and find yourself on a fraudulent thing, or call a premium rate number that will suck money from you.

6. Use some of these techniques to protect yourself

– Check the number that contacted you with a free online service like infosva which tells you which service the number belongs to and its rate.

– Check the number by searching it on Google, some are already listed as fraudulent.

– Do not call back or click on a link from a number that appears to be fraudulent.

– Use your operator’s filtering system if they offer one.

– Register on Bloctelthe free service that blocks cold calling.

– File a complaint if you are the victim of telephone harassment with the CNIL.

On computer

7. NEVER click on a link in an email if you do not know the recipient

It can be a person who says they know you and asks you (for X or Y reason) to click on a link, it can come from a company or a service of which you are not a customer, but also (and this is where it gets complex) from a service of which you are a customer. You can absolutely receive an email from a fake Netflix or The Later and be confident to click when it is a scam. Always be vigilant.

8. Do not give control of your computer remotely

For one reason or another a scammer could ask you to access your computer through a third-party application, from there you could see him operating schemes on your machine telling you that everything is fine while he is in the process of recover data. Only give this access when you’re 200% sure who you’re talking to, and again, it’s really not something you’re supposed to do.

9. Don’t fall for lottery scams

You received an email like this:

Congratulations, you have won a house / 600,000 euros / a free bikini wax!

Do not click, this is called a lottery scam. You are told that you have been drawn or won something and you are obviously asked to click on a link or send certain information to an email address: it’s a scam.

10. Do not give in to the panic of emails using the ER scam

A more drastic method of plunging victims is to use (like over the phone) an emergency, which prevents the person from thinking rationally or wanting to take the time to verify before giving access or information. An email from your bank, public finances or even the gendarmerie could ask you to do something very quickly or to answer by giving specific information under penalty of exposing you to problems. It is also necessary here to contact the competent services to verify the information which is generally a scam.

At your home

11. Don’t let anyone into your home for no reason

A rarer technique is to call you pretending to be your bank or an internet or mobile service, telling you that there is a problem with your account but that a technician / responder is on the way to your home urgently. There you let the person in and he accesses your computer to make a diagnosis (or a lie of the kind) and recovers your sensitive data while you think he fixes some problem. It’s rarer, but it exists, and it’s once again the urgency that makes you fall into it.

12. Don’t give money to anyone

We end with a not very bad little scam, that of the famous calendars or free gifts: know that for example in Paris the employees of the public services do not have the right to ask you for free gifts, so you should never give money to your garbage collectors, at least not those who ring your doorbell because they are anything but garbage collectors. On the other hand, you can make a small gift to the real garbage collectors you meet in front of your house with the truck, that’s always nice.

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