How can I avoid different types of scams (Chichewa)
Josephine Hi Myriam! The store is looking very clean!
Myriam Hi Josephine! Yes, I made a deal with Wisdom that he has to clean the store before he can use my smartphone for an hour.
Wisdom Mother! You just got a text saying we won a new smartphone! I can have it right? You just need to click here and verify your bank account number.
Myriam Ha! This must be a scam, let me see... Pff, I've never heard of this company and I didn't enter their contest. Just ignore it.
Wisdom But I want a smartphone!
Myriam No one plans to give us a smartphone, Wisdom. Why would some company I've never heard of want to give me something expensive? They're trying to get my information, probably so they can take my money, and want to make us excited so we lose caution. If anyone texts or calls asking for my personal information, I am very suspicious.
Josephine But what about your bank, Myriam? Don't banks need to check your identity if you talk to them by phone?
Myriam Yes, if I call my bank, dialing the number I know is theirs, I give them my account number so they can verify it's me. (But not my PIN of course! Never my PIN!) But once someone called claiming to be from the bank, telling me there was an urgent problem with my account. I told him I would call the bank directly and hung up. When I called the bank, they said there was no problem with my account. Scammers sometimes try to use fear.
Josephine You are right about that. Once a woman called who said she was a hospital nurse, that my brother had been hit by a car and that I needed to send money so they could proceed with an operation. It was only when I asked "which brother" that she hesitated and I realized she was trying to scam me. Thank goodness I have more than one brother... if she had said my sister, I don't know if I would have thought to call my sister to check before sending the money.
Myriam Yes, they try excitement, fear and panic, or even embarassment to confuse you. Once a man called me to ask for money. He pretended to be a friend from some years ago and acted hurt that I could not remember him. He knew details from my life and I was thinking maybe I really had forgotten him. But then he mentioned something else from my life that made me realize he was getting information from my Facebook page! After that, I updated my Facebook settings to make my page private.
Josephine Oh, there are so many scams! What if I accidentally fall for one, Myriam? Is there a way I can get my money back?
Myriam You can report the scam to your mobile network operator and they may freeze the number and may try to take some action. But only a small amount of scammed money is ever recovered - these scammers move fast. It is best to be smart and never give out personal information and never send money unless you are sure of the person's identity.
Josephine (Sighs) Sometimes I feel scared with all these people trying to trick me.
Myriam In life, there will always be people trying to trick you. As new technologies come, they will think of new tricks. But if we understand how to protect ourselves, we can avoid the scammers' tricks while still using the technologies to make our lives better.
Josephine Hm... the next time I realize I am talking to a scammer, I will start talking about all the ways they could use their phone and mobile money to improve their life in an honest way. Even if they immediately hang up, maybe they will still think about it!
Myriam Haha I love that idea! I hope I am with you the next time a scammer calls!