The internet is really not as safe as you think it might be.
Hal Lloyd got in contact with us after he discovered that he’d been defrauded out over £50.
The opportunities for criminals to take advantage of good people is bigger than it has ever been. There are a seemingly endless stream of avenues for hackers and spammers to use to gain access to bank accounts and personal information, including social media networks like Facebook and Instagram, as well as shopping sites such as eBay and Amazon, not to mention emails and text messaging.
Despite millions of pounds being spent every year on increased security for these sites, cyber criminals are constantly working on new ways to circumvent these measures, so it’s important to remain constantly vigilant whenever you’re using the internet, whether it’s on your phone, tablet or computer. If you let your guard down then you may find that the security of your devices will become compromised which could lead to personal information such as your bank details, address or phone contacts being leaked.
“The moment I realised what I’d done I felt instantly stupid, it was almost like I was coming out of this fugue state of complete idiocy. I remember sitting there dumbfounded with my debit card in my hand just thinking: ‘Why on earth did I do that?’ I’m an social media marketing expert in Liverpool, I know how the internet works but I’m just as vulnerable as a Granny with no clue.”
As of 2017 online fraud became the most common crime in the country, with close to 1 in 10 people in the country falling into the trap of an online fraudsters. Despite the frequency of these offences, the annual Crime Survey of England and Wales revealed that many people chose not to report the crime to the police as they believed that either they would not be able recover their money or they were simply too embarrassed to do so.
“It seems like a really obvious thing to say, but you really shouldn’t send strangers money over the internet. It’s as simple as that, but of course this is easily said than done, especially when this stranger is dangling a carrot that is just so very tempting. In my case the bait was a gig ticket which I’d appealed for on an events page. I literally said that I was ‘desperate’ to see a certain band and an opportunistic man took the chance to simply take me money.”
It can be easy to assume that all online fraudsters are naive men and women from Africa who spend their days typing up ridiculously contrived emails offering millions of pounds in exchange for a simple bank transfer of £100 or so, but unfortunately that’s simply not the case. Although it might be tough to admit, there are many online fraudsters out there who are smart enough to seek out targets and make a quick buck off similarly smart people who simply have their guards down online.
“I was drawn in with an offer which, in reality, was too good to be true. This concert had sold out months ago, so the chance that someone would be willing to sell two tickets at face-value was a little far fetched. I wanted to believe the lie so much that I transferred the money through PayPal without using buyer protection only to be rewarded by the scammer’s profile disappearing and a sickening feeling in my stomach.”