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Spam email and SMSes are an annoyance you put up with every day. But unsolicited advertising is not the worst thing you can receive in your inbox. Rather, it’s messages that aim to trick and scam you out of your money.

While many people know when a message seems too good to be true, scam messages still manage to trick a large number of people.

So what are the warning signs to look out for when a messages seems suspicious? Here are a few:

Competitions you never entered

A popular scam message format is one that claims you’ve won a free gift or a competition that you never entered. Reputable companies don't give prizes to people who aren’t their customers or who didn’t enter. If you’ve been told you won a draw you never entered, or a lottery you didn’t know about, the message is a scam.

Emails: Check the sender’s address

Scammers may send you a message that looks official, but their email addresses can often give them away. When you receive an email that claims to be from your bank, for example, check the email address it was sent from. Banks and companies have an official domain, so you should avoid emails that don’t reflect this domain.

Be on the look out for ones that have small variations, such as extra numbers after the company’s name. A company such as Nedbank, for example, isn’t going to send you emails from nedbank123.co.za, for example.

Messages from unknown senders with links

When it comes to following links in emails or SMSes, rather be safe than sorry. If you don’t know the sender, don’t click on the link.

These links can often take you to sites with malware or scams. Rather don’t follow links sent to you by people or companies you don’t know.

Messages that ask for personal details

If a message asks you for details such as credit card details or passwords, it’s definitely a scam.

Companies will never ask you to send passwords or private information via email.

Messages asking for payments

If an email claims you’re going to get a lot of money or inheritance, once you've transferred funds to cover the necessary fees, it's definitely a scam.

In reality, once you transfer the money, you’ll never hear from the sender again.

Check out our useful articles that will help you make the most of your phone, plus a series of articles to help you with everyday Vodacom tasks, like finding your PUK. 

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