The Malta Independent 4 August 2021, Wednesday

TMID Editorial: Crime - Online and phone scams

Tuesday, 1 June 2021, 08:08 Last update: about 3 months ago

On Sunday, this newsroom revealed a shocking statistic. The police said that over 200 people fell victim to SMS or email scams in the past month.

As the world becomes more and more digital, scammers are getting better and better at fooling the public.

The police said that victims have reported losing between €800 and €1,800 from their bank accounts, with total amount of money being stolen so far passing the €100,000 mark.

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This is no small amount for the Maltese worker, and is indeed a month’s salary for many.

The police gave examples of the scams being used. One such scam regards false bank notifications where the victim is drawn into providing their credit details after being notified of a “suspicious transaction”, where they are then asked to click a link to verify the said transaction.

When clicking that link, they are met with a false website intended to steal the victim’s details.

It is good that the police are raising awareness on these kinds of scams, and the more people know about them, the less likely people are to fall for them. Continuous campaigns should be run to raise awareness of the current scams being run. Indeed we must also ensure that the elderly, who might not be as technologically savvy as the younger generations, are fully informed of these types of crime.

The police said that the way not to fall for such scams is to not give out private information so quickly. “If one pays special attention to the link which is sent, one can notice that the website address – its URL – is not genuine, even if it would look very similar. People should not follow links sent by email, but should always use the genuine postal service or bank website. They can also verify that validity of an SMS or email received by telephoning the company in question or contacting them by email or social media. It is important not to use phone numbers or email addresses provided in the fraudulent message though, but to use the contact provided by the company itself.”

People who have fallen for scams are urged to inform both the police and their bank immediately.

It is also important that news of the kinds of scams being employed by criminals are spread in order to inform as many people as possible about the tactics currently being employed. That way, we can ensure that people are less likely to fall for them.

While some scams are easy to spot, some are not, and it is becoming harder and harder to spot them. Double checking is always the best form of action one can take.

 

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