12 April 2020
by Lewis Pitcher
Since our previous article about avoiding fraud and scams in Malta, the situation in the world has taken a drastic turn, and because of that, we’ve put together an extra set of points on the new issues that quarantine and social distancing have created.
Offers and Threats
Another area we’ve seen a big increase in is messages and calls, from GO or other service providers like banks and utility providers, either about refunds on bills or warnings that previous bills haven’t been paid. Other versions of this include ‘suspicious PayPal transactions’ or Amazon orders that were never made, sent to some address across the world.
These scams are designed to take advantage of the general worries and concerns of everyone right now, and rely on people acting without proper care first. For calls, we would like to remind you that GO will never call clients asking them for bank details to refund them on extra bill payments. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from GO about refunds, it is better to hang up and contact GO directly afterwards.
For emails, there are a few easy steps you can follow, shown in the screenshot of a real email received by our own staff below:
Social Media Fraud
Most people right now are at home, which makes it very likely that more people are relying on technology to get by, whether that’s watching TV or internet videos, or keeping it touch via social media and chat software. This has also meant that many criminal activities are now also going digital, and there has been a notable rise in the number of online fraud cases reported to us.
It is always a good idea to be careful with things such as Facebook, Whatsapp or even email, and the security advice always remains the same: never open unknown attachments, never open any files or links sent to you by unknown or suspicious addresses or accounts, and always check profiles of users if you’re not sure. Similarly, if you receive calls where you are asked to download and install software to fix a problem, such as TeamViewer or other screen-sharing or file-sharing software, you should never install anything until you’ve checked elsewhere that the call is legitimate.
However, right now this is even more critical to keep in mind as more and more of us use more and more channels to keep in touch, manage our daily lives or even get our work done. More importantly, these scams are likely to be more dangerous to those who are less tech savvy – if you know someone you think could be a target, make sure they know about staying safe online as well.