I have to say, I am fairly tech savy when it comes to comptuers, social media and IT security. I have even helped family and clients recover their computers after computer viruses. I have helped family members recover after being scammed. Today, I was totally unprepared to be a VICTUM of a scam!! Yes me who tells people NEVER give out credit card details or personal details over the phone, was caught in that sticky web of fraud!!!
How did I get caught in this web you ask? Well, I was looking for Networking groups in Linkedin for women in Small Business. I nievely thought that Linkedin was free of fraudulant advertisements. I saw an advertisement for Networking for Women in Business. As I have only just begun my business, I thought networking online and gaining business contacts in the corporate world for corporate events would be a great start.
I filled out my email details and company name, got a phone call that sounded legit. They talked about putting my name and company profile into a directory. They even mentioned I would have be able to build my brand through their marketing, online profiling of my business and network connections.
After giving them way to many details. I asked how many Australian Businesses had signed up for this online Who's Who in Business listing. When they said only 20,000, something clicked. I realised I had given them my credit card details as well as all my business contact details....
Now your saying "YOU DID WHAT?" Yep, I gave them my credit card details. After I hung up from the phone conversation, I thought I had better look for more information about this company. I had looked up the company details on Linkedin, and Googled the company. I looked legit. It had a really slick front end, it also had several professional profiles. Just as they had said they would do for my company.
What I had NOT done, before the phone conversation, was google the company name and details with the word "Scam" or "Fraud" after the name. NOW, I was getting a lot of very scary information and I realised I had handed over credit card details.
So, what do I do now!! Well, first thing I did was ring my bank, told them what I had done and asked to cancel my credit card. Lucky as this was all about my company I had not given them very much personal details!
Lesson to learn here. Ask for their details. What they are offering you? Ask for a reference number to call them back to give you enough time to check the company out. Don't give them to to much details about you personally or your credit card details. When checking the company out make sure you google them and add the words, "scam" or "fraud" after the company name. If the company or details about their offer come up on several search listings, check them all out.
After searching further I have found that the company that scammed me have been around even before the internet. They have gone by many names and have been using the same scheme to get company owners and CEO's to list their companies and profiles in magazines and online listings.
Number one rule, if it smells like a rat, it must definately is a rat!
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