Scams are everywhere but don’t fall victim to hacker trickery with these tips

Perhaps you’ve heard the term phising and assumed it was just another social media trend. It is, in fact, a very serious matter. As more people use their cell phones on a regular basis for both personal and professional purposes, there is an increase in online phising attacks, which occur when hackers attempt to obtain sensitive user information via text messages.

Phishing and fraud scams are deceptive methods of obtaining personal information such as passwords, identity numbers, and credit card details by calling, sending emails, or text messages that appear to come from reputable sources such as banks or legitimate businesses.

It only takes a brief lapse in concentration or uncertainty, and the person on the other end has all of your personal information, which can have serious consequences, particularly in your financial matters.

Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of such scams and unknowingly fall victim. Gumtree lists a few things to be mindful of when faced with potential fraudulent activity or scam:

  1. When faced with an email or SMS message, no matter how serious it might sound, do not click on any links. Randomly clicking links can put you at risk of downloading software that is designed to access some of your personal information. You may be in trouble if you browse the web to an unsafe location and malware is installed.
  2. You have to remember that hackers are smart and will prompt your participation by requesting information from you, most commonly in the form of a bank. Most financial institutions often send out generic and institution-specific communication which can seem very genuine at a glance.
  3. Normal passwords sometimes isn’t enough and securing your account/profile with multi-factor authentication (MFA) prompts you to confirm a sign in via text message verification. Companies will never ask you to send them a pin via text or email – this is an immediate red flag of an active scam.
  4. The best thing you can do to be absolutely sure is to phone the institution or service provider regarding the communication you’ve just received. They will be able to tell you immediately if it was sent from them. In addition, even if the matter is flagged as urgent, take your time and think whether or not you’ve signed up or enquired about something in particular.
  5. Like they say, prevention is better than cure and this rings true with smishing, phishing and vishing. There are many desktop and mobile anti-malware apps that can protect you against malicious links.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.

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