We’ve all heard of phishing scams and I am sure we have all noticed that they are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from something genuine. With similar email addresses and the company logo, our trustworthy natures often believe that these emails are the genuine articles even if they are not.
Big name companies often find themselves being used as fronts for these email and SMS scams. We can all probably say that we have received what we believed to be a marketing communication from a big name brand telling us to rectify an account problem, only to realise it is a phishing scam designed to grab and harvest our details. Whilst these used to be incredibly easy to spot, they are becoming harder to distinguish from the real thing and the more vulnerable people tend to fall victim to them. eBay is just one of the companies affected and has even got information on their site for their customers in the event of a phishing scam.
Preventing these phishing scams would be incredibly difficult to do but preventing customers from falling for them is beneficial. Companies have set up dedicated phone hotlines and other communication methods for consumers to report phishing communications they have received bearing the company name. With these hotlines being used almost constantly, it seems people aware of the risks of falling for such scams. Although some people are able to spot that certain emails are scams and quickly report them, companies also have to field complaints from those who have fallen for the scams.
The more elaborate the scam, the easier it is for consumers to make contact with who they believe is the company, handing over their personal details right away for harvesting and potential awful use – you never really know what these scammers could use your details for. Anyone can be targeted, anyone can receive a phishing email or SMS into their inbox and anyone can fall for them.
With fraud hotlines being established (Wonga S.A. launched a dedicated fraud hotline in 2015) to deal with these eventualities, it is clear that companies need to consistently keep warning consumers about the phishing scams going around and also perhaps do more to keep their customers informed. Wonga SA themselves receive on average 300 complaints a week which led to the creation of the aforementioned fraud hotline so they could warn their customers against the scam. The scam seems to be so big that police were contacted at the outset and the company have recently escalated it to the Hawks, hoping for further investigation and perhaps even a prosecution. They are reminding people to remain vigilant and report anything they might consider to be a phishing scam.
These scams will target anyone and it is important as companies and customers alike take responsibility in warning others about the phishing scams that are currently making the rounds, educating each other on the risks and the effects of falling for such a scam, preventing others from making the same mistake.