This week I have been the target of a couple dodgy going ons in the digital world. Before you think you have to shop me in, hear me out, I was NOT involved – I was the victim.
Fraud and scams are so common place in the digital world, it is not akin to the pickpocket opportunist standing at the crowded market waiting for their moment.
I don’ t know if it is just me, but at times I feel like there is always someone waiting to take my information lurking around the next click when boom they have found their moment.
I heard that there was an HMRC scam email going round, telling unsuspecting taxpayers that they had been refunded the sum of £548. It is an opportune time of year, a tidy sum to help out for Christmas which is exactly what they these scam scum want you to think.
In your excitement, you forget to stop and think and go ahead and click on the link. Before you know it you have opened yourself up to a world of dodgy transactions on your account.
Luckily for me I was aware of this and wasn’ t expecting any kind of refund from HMRC.
The second email that came across my inbox was a Paypal email telling me that my account had been locked.
I needed to re-enter my bank account information in order to open the account again. I should have known better. I know. In my defence they caught me at the end of the day, I was tired and was not thinking as straight as I should have and I knew there was a transaction processing on my paypal account, which I did not want to delay.
I clicked the link without thinking, entered the details and even as I was doing this, I thought this seems a bit strange to ask for this information but the site looked quite genuine.
It did not take long before there was a fraudulent transaction to Tunisair on my account, the fact that I had not planned any travel with the said airline and that my bank luckily realised this as unusual activity on my account and declined the transaction.
Though how they knew I had not planned any travel to Tunisia, I have no idea but am thankful they realised it is not my usual destination choice.
Luckily for me, I did not lose anything but except my digital dignity.
I regaled myself for having being so digitally stupid and me of all people should have known better. But this is the point, it can happen to anyone one of us no matter how savvy and careful we are.
Anyway, the cards all cancelled and replacements received, so that’ s all sorted, well that’ s what I thought.
Today, I tried to log into my Facebook and account and could not.
I thought this is strange. Maybe I had entered the wrong password, so I tried again and again and miraculously on the third attempt, I managed to get into my account.
I received a message on screen showing me that I had two Facebook accounts.
Apparently my Facebook book account had been cloned.
They had my picture on the fake account with 12 friends already. I know I can make friends easily but in the space of a few hours even that was a mean feat for me.
Luckily Facebook recognised that there was a problem on my account and immediately asked me if I knew about the second account.
It was actually quite simple to report it, Facebook had even placed a report button. I did so and immediately received a message telling me that Facebook had blocked the suspicious account whilst it was investigated.
As I was reporting it, I had told my daughter of the fake account and she went to check and confirmed that there were duplicate accounts in my name and one that had just been opened a few hours ago.
As I was clicking the link telling Facebook of the fake account and received notification that they would block it — the account disappeared from my daughter’ s screen.
That’ s how instant they are — well done Facebook for responding so quickly.
If you had received a duplicate friends requests from me, it was not me.
Fraud and internet scams are going to become the new way fraudsters and con artists will try to trick you out of your money. In the same way as they did with bag theft and pickpockets years ago, this is no different.
They will try and get any small pickings whilst they can.
It in some ways, this makes you wonder how much information you have out there?
How much information is freely available to them?
They easily found a photo of me and placed this on the fake account and impersonated me.
I dread to think of what they could have done and what they could have got up to.
Be wary on online of transactions which don’ t seem real or make you stop and wonder.
Hover over the email address that had been sent to you, this will show the name and email address of the sender and will soon tell you whether this is real or not.
If you receive requests for bank or accounts details to update or to lock your information — DO NOT click the links that have been sent to you.
Instead call your bank directly.
Search the details for your bank on the site or the back of your card.
Let’ s not get onto a negative, the internet is wonderful, it helps to make our lives easier and allows us to have almost anything at the touch of button.
We still need to be wary and be careful but it should not stop us wanting to use this great place that is the digital world.
It is a part of the new way of living helping us to create a new life – a digital life.
The Digital Mum spreading the word about the Digital Lifestyle
Whilst helping you find your calm in the digital noise
So you can simply live your digital life
Because there is another way!