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How to be scam-resistant

In a nutshell: There are various precautions you can take to protect yourself and your devices from scammers.

Here are useful tips from the South African Fraud Prevention Services on how to armour-clad yourself and your devices against fraudsters.

Guard against identity theft

  • Never share your personal, banking or credit-card information with people you don’t know or trust, and never give them access to your computer.
  • Check your bank and credit-card statements every month for suspicious activity.
  • Beware of entering competitions online where you must provide personal information.
  • Activate privacy settings on social media sites and be careful what you post online, as information can be easily stored and archived, even if you delete it.
  • Never share your PIN codes used for banking or your devices.
  • Before you throw out personal documents, destroy them first by either shredding or ripping them up.
  • Register for SMS notifications to alert you of any activity on your bank accounts.

Secure your computer and mobile phone

  • Install and regularly update your security software (anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall).
  • Turn on automatic updates for the operating system (e.g. Windows) and update all other applications and software programs when updates are available through their official websites.
  • Make sure your wireless network is encrypted. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask your internet provider.
  • Use strong, unusual passwords – “QWERTY” is not a good password!
  • Turn off your computer or disconnect it from the internet when you’re not using it.
  • Scan devices such as USBs or external hard drives for viruses, before opening them.
  • Delete and do not open any suspicious emails. If you’ve already opened them, don’t click on any links or open any attachments.
  • Do not accept messages or friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Be wary of clicking on advertisements about banking, finances or investments in your social media feed.
  • If you use public computers (e.g. in libraries), never save your passwords to them.
  • Avoid using Wi-Fi to log into your bank accounts.
  • Be cautious of installing third-party applications onto your phone – they can be used by scammers to steal account details.