Staying safe online: how to spot conmen and scammers on the web

Liam Beauchamp

Remember the film Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio? This was a true story about a man called Frank Abagnale. He impersonated many different people from an airline pilot, a priest to a lawyer and got away with millions of dollars in the 60s and 70s. His main crime was cheque fraud and he was so good at it that the FBI eventually turned to him for help in catching other cheque forgers.

Creating new identities and pretending to be different people can be easy on the internet so we want to make sure that our members stay safe online. These criminals are becoming ever more sophisticated - remember, they want to get your money or personal details. Online scams can target anyone and they usually succeed because they sound real and because they appeal to people who want to be polite, helpful, generous, compassionate and respectful.

Our team are here to protect you and help you stay safe online, so we've put together these top tips to follow:

  • 1. Make sure that your profile does not contain any personal information
  • 2. Never send money or give credit card details or online account details
  • 3. When you apply for a sit or interview sitters make sure you check reviews and trust and verification badges
  • 4. Beware of any odd requests made by email. For example if a someone asks you to pay a cheque into your account in order to cash it
  • 5. Create strong, memorable passwords and don’t let other people use your account
  • 6. Be wary of any unusual payment requests, like paying a bill for someone
  • 7. Our sitters sit for free, so you should never disclose your bank or any financial details to other TrustedHousesitters members
  • 8. Never give any personal information to anyone until you are comfortable with the people you are dealing with. Never give copies of personal documents
  • 9. Watch out for unusual payment methods, like preloaded gift cards, debit cards, iTunes cards, virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, or cheques
  • 10. If anyone is unpleasant online and tries to bully you to do something, don’t reply. Let our Membership Services team know what’s happening and we will help you

Conmen and scammers have taking advantage of other people for hundred of years. A man calling himself the Count Von Lustig actually sold the Eiffel Tower twice to the scrap metal merchants of Paris in the early 20th century. If something doesn’t feel right or looks too good to be true it generally is.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful and please feel free to share it with friends and family.

If you have any questions about staying safe online and when using TrustedHousesitters, don't hesitate to contact our friendly Membership Services Team

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