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An initiative of Google and Test-Achats

Watch out for these cyber scams!

Phishing mails, fraudulent online offers, text message scams, etc. Cyber criminals are constantly finding new ways to take Internet users and companies' money. It is in your interest to recognise the signs in order to outsmart frauds.

This is the reason why Europol, the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the European Banking Federation are conducting an awareness campaign around the most common forms of financial fraud on the Internet.

We shed some light on 6 forms of fraud here:

  • Online shopping fraud: online deals that turn out to be scams such as offers that are too good to be true and unrealistic, pop-up ads that inform you that you have won a prize, etc.
  • Bank phishing mails: fraudulent e-mails that appear to have come from your bank and ask you to download an attachment or to click a link.
  • Dating fraud: frauds who approach you on dating sites or via social media. First they gain your trust and then start asking for money or bank details.
  • Smishing: criminals try to obtain personal, financial or security information through text messages. To verify or update your account you need to click a link or call a phone number.
  • Fake bank websites: a link in a phishing mail takes you to a fake bank website where you are asked to enter your bank details.
  • Vishing: telephone fraud whereby the frauds mislead their victim to share personal, financial or security information or to transfer money.

How can you protect yourself?

Use your common sense and don't believe every online offer, message or telephone call you receive. The following tips help you to stay alert:

  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it is almost always a scam.
  • Your bank will never ask you for sensitive information by e-mail or on the phone.
  • Only make payments on secure websites (check if the URL starts with "https" and there is a padlock) and via a secure internet connection (never via public WiFi!).
  • Regularly check your expenditure and bank statements. Report all suspicious activity to your bank and block your account if necessary.
  • Don't share too much personal data on social media: frauds can use your information and photographs to steal and misuse your identity.
  • Report every attempt of fraud to the police, even if you were not a victim.

More specific tips about each type of scam are available in the campaign brochure. You can download this brochure here (scroll down and click your language).