Yikes! You feel foolish. You think you are so experienced, you will never be caught out by a scam. And then you are.
Nothing to be done but get to work. Change your passwords. Change your credit card. Whatever the scam, you just have to be ready to stop everything and get everything fixed. Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200. Just get it done.
There are so many scams these days.
I regularly get telephone calls from ‘my bank’ (never named) telling me that there have been some irregular purchases from my account, usually adding up to more than $1,000. I had one this morning. I just hang up. It isn’t even a real person.
They used to phone saying they were from the ‘technical department’ (of what company was never mentioned) and there was a problem with my computer’s internet connection. I never fell for that one either.
Then, just two days ago, I had an email from the DVLA (the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), which issues drivers’ licences in the UK. It told me that it was time to renew my licence.
It was really good. It had a logo on it which looked genuine. And photos. It was written in excellent English of the kind such notices are normally written in. It offered information in Braille if I needed it. And, most clever of all, it provided a link to press if you were worried that it was a scam.
But I always press the arrow next to the email address to see the underlying address – and it came from Japan. That is definitely NOT the UK Government department for issuing drivers’ licences!
But today, I had an email telling me that it was time to renew my Amazon Prime account. Again, it looked genuine. It seemed to come from the US – not Russia, Japan or the other places they often come from.
I took my eye off the ball and pressed the button to ‘renew’. They wanted to check my details, so I gave them my name, address, phone number and mother’s maiden name. Even asked for my Amazon password. Then, they wanted my credit card details and yes, I gave them all that, too.
And then, after all that was done, I said to myself, I wonder if that is a scam?
Too late. Oh, dear.
I phoned the card company and cancelled my card. I contacted Amazon and changed my password.
And then I sat there feeling very irritated – and very stupid, indeed.
How could I have let that happen to me, I thought. I am cautious, I am careful. I don’t do silly things like that.
But none of us is immune, I fear. It’s just hubris to think otherwise.
Dealing with all this is a terrible waste of time. I had wanted to get out of the house quickly, but I had to have the patience required to deal with two busy companies, slowly and surely.
And it is very scary. It takes time to calm down. And makes you doubt yourself. Not a good thing at this time of life.
SO DO BE CAREFUL.
Think twice before you respond to these dreadful people – and their increasingly clever scams. Ask someone else to check it before you reply or press any link. Finally, it’s a great idea to use the company’s public and reliable channels to ask them if they sent you the email or other message.
Believe me, I know.
Have you ever been caught out by a scam? What happened? What advice do you have for others?