Your Phone—Always Connected—Always At Risk
Cell phones are now mainstream. People stare at you if you don’t have one.
Cell phones are so ingrained in our psyche that if it is missing, we panic! Don’t believe me? Observe the reaction of someone that discovered they left their phone at home. More often than not, they go back to get it.
Cell phones are great, but they make mistakes too convenient. Read on.
Carlos Gets An Email
Carlos was scrolling through his phone when an email notification popped up. It was from a well-known online payment platform. It contained an invoice for a recent purchase.
Since he had recently purchased through the platform, Carlos assumed it was legitimate. The seller’s name sounded familiar, and the amount seemed correct. Carlos clicked the “View and Pay Invoice” button and paid.
Carlos Puts The Cart Before The Horse
The next day, Carlos checked his credit card account and realized he had already paid for the item. So, he returned to the email from the previous day and saw that it included a customer service phone number. He called the number.
The account rep told Carlos that he could reverse the transaction. All he needed was the number and details of the card he used. Carlos provided the information—Issue resolved—Or so he thought.
“Houston, We Have A Problem!”
Two days later, Carlos goes online to pay his credit card balance. He logs onto his account and sees a $5,000 charge to a large retail store. Carlos puts the pieces together, but it is too late—he has been scammed.
Now it is a race against time to notify the credit card company before the scammers rack up more charges.
What Carlos Did Wrong
Did you spot the red flags? We’ll list them here anyway:
- Carlos did not confirm the payment, nor did he double-check the seller.
- He did not check the website where the “View and Pay Invoice” button led him. Instead, he assumed it was legitimate.
- Carlos called the number on an email instead of using official, published contact information.
Cell phones are great, but you must use them with caution when online. The small screens make it easy to miss the tricks scammers use to separate you from your money.
When possible, do your purchases, banking, and other financial transactions on a desktop at home with a secure connection. The larger screen will help in spotting fakes. Although not perfect, this is better than doing what Carlos did using his cell.
In addition to the keen observation of EVERY email or text message:
- NEVER click any link in an email or text message. Instead, ALWAYS go onto the official site using your browser and log into your account. If there is an issue, you’ll find it there.
- Always confirm customer service numbers using officially published sources before calling.
- NEVER give away credit card details if you are not sure who you are speaking to.
- Keep track of your online purchases and payments. But don’t let anyone high-pressure you into making a payment or giving up confidential information (see the first bullet).
- ALWAYS be cautious of unsolicited requests or messages from payment platforms, banking, and other financial institutions.
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