Educating the masses about scams

How could the masses be educated about scams such as the ones described by the BBC today?

One in 20 UK internet users say they have lost money through online scams, research into spam emails suggests.

Almost half say they have received so-called phishing emails aimed at tricking them into revealing details like online banking passwords. Other frauds include paying for items which never arrive and sending cash following a demand from a bogus email.

Of the 1% who had lost money through phishing, 53% were not compensated by their bank, the AOL survey found. A further 11% say they are still waiting for compensation.

So many people seem to be simply unaware of the problem, trusting emails that come through as long as they “look” vaguely trustworthy. PayPal account detail confirmations, bank details confirmations, Nigeria 419 scams, the lot…

So what’s the answer? How can we educate parents, children, naive friends?

Some people believe they’re doing the right thing when sending mass forwards to friends warning them about scams while generously creating ripe email addresses lists to be harvested later by a less-than-honest moneymaker and wasting their friends’ time and mailbox space.

The best way to avoid viruses that email all your contacts on your behalf is to install a good and regularly updated anti-virus software, and a good dose of common sense. No bank or other service will randomly email you to ask you to confirm your banking details, especially not through a third-party website!

New deception techniques are developed everyday to trick people as it is a lucrative business, and for this reason, common sense remains the best weapon against scammers.

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