Listen to this page! Narrated by Nicole A.
Updated: December 6, 2021
Episode Background: In the episode “Foreign Prince”, a child gets his first taste of scammers through a commonly known email scam. When mom finds out that the eight-year-old child has been duped out of $300 in gift cards, she puts the brakes on him using email ever again.
Scams – Scams come in all shapes and sizes. Common electronic or online scams typically involve two common elements: The need to send something and to do it urgently. The ‘something’ could be money, gift cards or information. A scammer knows that getting a person to do something quickly could prevent them from doing their research or asking questions that could prevent a successful scam. There are hundreds of variations of scams and recently scammers are developing their tactics. Sometimes a text message may seem like it’s from a bank, it may get you to click on a link to check your balance but what you may simply be doing is just inputting your data into a very elaborate spoof of a bank’s website. Sometimes the goal is to get access to a person’s data and clicking that link may install surreptitiously dangerous software (viruses) that can’t be uninstalled. They could roam around your devices or even pass to other computers on your same home wifi. While it’s obvious that an elderly person and a child are the victims of scams in this episode, ANYONE can become a target.
Grooming – While this episode doesn’t specifically go into this kind of risk, allowing a child to access ANY form of communication (even email) on a device that a parent isn’t monitoring 24 hours a day, can lead to worse things happening, not just financial loss. While a child may think they are communicating with trusted sources like family or friends, or someone that may want to give them things, this may just be opening the door to other motives.
Viruses – As described above, the child in this story opened an email from a scammer. Sometimes the email is looking for the user to click on a link which could install harmful software or viruses onto that device and others. This may lead to a total replacement of that device which could be very costly. Repairs to remove viruses or malware could start in the $200 range and go upwards. Further, that person working to remove the virus, should be a trusted individual as that could be a source of further harm.
Spelling and Grammar
Checking and being conscious of spelling and grammar errors can help pick out bad apples. This is a common occurrence when scammers on the opposite side of the world are trying to believe they are near you.
Access Sites Manually
If you even suspect a text, message or email is not from a reputable source, go directly to that site without using a link sent to you. Make a habit of doing this always.
Always be Scanning for Scammers
Be suspicious of emails, texts and calls from people you don’t know. Verify phone numbers, addresses and names of people that contact you, before giving out any information about yourself. Keep in mind that most reputable companies do not rely on unsolicited messages or calls to get information about you. Watch website links and address bars for misspelled or similar spelled brand names. Be cautious of people saying they are long lost friends, relatives or people looking for any information from you. Lastly, educate yourself about the evolving risks. Go on Youtube and search for Jim Browning, Kitboga or Scammer Payback so you can know what to look for with new or emerging risks.
Don’t open links or attachments!
If you don’t know someone, don’t open a link or attachment. Attachments like pictures or videos may seem fine at first but they could be installing malware. Even if you do know someone, if you receive a message from someone you may know, understand that it may NOT be them sending you the message. They could have been hacked with a virus and to infect other computers, the virus could be sending out spam-like emails or messages to pretend to be someone you know. Call someone you know if you get a suspicious email or text from them. Confirm they sent it. This could save you thousands of dollars and lots of heartache.
Protect your details!
If you’re being asked about any information from anyone you don’t know online or in a message of some kind, suspect the worst. Try and verify as much as possible before giving out any personal details. Call someone back if they have called you. Send an email directly from a company’s website when looking to verify if a legitimate request has been made of you. The least amount of information you give people online, the better.