SCAMMERS are getting increasingly sophisticated at conning people out of their hard earned cash.
It's a problem that has only got worse over the course of the pandemic, with more people indoors and online.
A big chunk target you via email and usually claim to be popular services like Facebook and Google.
Fortunately, there are some tell-tale signs you can look out for that could spare you a devastating hit on your bank account.
Check links in emails for scams
The biggest giveaway that anyone can be aware of is web addresses and links.
You would expect something like Facebook to go to a page on facebook.com, while Google on google.com.
Usually, scammers go for obscure web addresses that feature the company names but aren't official.
So you should look out for that as an instant warning sign for any links.
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Ideally, you should check the links by hovering over any buttons or calls to click, before actually clicking on them.
This will show the web address so you can see if it's the real deal.
The same applies for the email address of the sender.
Look out for accents and dots in web addresses
Official emails are usually short and again, feature the official web address.
If any email is coming from something like firstname.lastname@example.org, there is clearly something wrong.
Also look out for tiny accents and dots used in non-English languages, which can be quite hidden at first glance.
For example, "gọọgle" – did you notice the two dots below the Os? That's suspicious and won't take you to the official Google website.
Check shortened web addresses
There are a lot of web address shortening services out there these days which are designed to make long links appear a bit shorter.
They essentially act as a mask that redirect you elsewhere as soon as you visit it.
Many are legitimate but they are obviously open to abuse as well.
Thankfully, there is a site called Check Short URL which reveals the true web address, so you can see whether it's safe or a scam.
After you've got the real address, apply the same principles above to work out if it's good to go.
Go via official sites yourself
If you think an email might be real or you're not sure, your best bet is to ignore the email and go straight to the official site manually.
Should it be genuine, what ever was being mentioned in the email will surely appear in your account right there – and at least you know then that you're on the proper site.
In other news, Apple has revealed a bunch of new emoji for iPhone, including a pregnant man and two saucy symbols.
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And the most popular phone since the millennium has been unveiled, with many shocked to find out it's not an iPhone.
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