Nicky Marr: Scams are beginning to wear me down
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Can you just stop it now, please? Stop with the scamming texts, the phishing emails, identity thefts and the phone calls? It’s getting boring. It’s time-consuming, and one day my guard will slip, I’ll fill in my card details, and I’ll end up losing money. Maybe even worse than that, I’m losing my faith in humanity.
Already this morning I’ve fallen foul of three attempted scams; well, two scams, plus a phone call from someone who scammed a loan company and gave them my phone number instead of their own.
That doesn’t include two Facebook friend requests from people I’m already friends with.
First attempted scam today was a text from the Post Office, telling me my package was delayed due to an unpaid shipping fee.
Could I click the link, please, to pay and re-schedule delivery? “Bloody Brexit”, thought my early morning brain as I clicked the link. I’ve been waiting for a parcel from Spain. Import charges? I’ve read about these…
Reader, I clicked the link. It took me through to a familiar looking website. There was an outstanding £2.10. Pay that, and my parcel would arrive on Thursday.
I filled in my address, then it asked for my date of birth in case the parcel contained alcohol or another restricted item. I hesitated.
If I filled this all in (obviously with a fake date of birth, I’m not completely foolish) the ‘Post Office’ would then have the info they needed to take out bank loans, credit cards, finance deals and more in my name.
I took a screenshot of the text and posted it on social media.
“Am I overthinking, or is this a scam?” I asked. With one collective voice, my friends shouted “SCAM”.
I stopped giving away crucial personal data. “Bloody Brexit” turned quickly to “Bloody idiot”. I got on with my morning.
I’m freelance. Occasionally, offers of work pop in from unlikely sources and I have learned over the years that it pays (literally) to keep an open mind.
If I’d have been cynical about some of the stuff that seemed too good to be true, I’d have missed media work all over the country, including a long, splendid, sunny weekend on a boat in the Norfolk Broads.
Here was an email suggesting an interesting collaboration with a magazine.
I clicked the link. I then had to spend the next 45 minutes dealing with Microsoft, trying to reclaim my settings and re-set passwords.
Nothing lost, no data breaches, just a pain in the neck, lost time, and another tiny scratch on the lens of the rose-tinted spectacles that I insist on still wearing.
It’s exhausting, it’s relentless and I stand to lose so much more than time. Family and friends have been scammed for real, necessitating long drawn-out negotiations with their banks to recover lost funds, and time to regain financial confidence.
Is there an answer? Or do I simply need to dial up my cynicism?
Probably. And change all my passwords. Again.