Scammers target people of all backgrounds, ages, and income levels by concocting plausible schemes that may persuade them to give them money or personal information.
Scammers will go to great lengths to persuade a person that a fortune awaits them if they follow their instructions, but there are several ways to avoid such blunders. You may even be introduced to a second or even third scammer posing as a banker, TV channel representative, or government official to ‘assist with the legal and financial aspects of the transaction.’
The following are some examples of common scams:
a) Attempts to Gain Personal Information
Scammers use a variety of methods to obtain personal information. Once they have obtained the stolen identity, they can use it to commit fraud.
b) Impersonating Banks/Organizations
Scammers pose as legitimate organizations such as banks, the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), the Ehsas Programme, etc. A common fraud technique is to claim that your “ATM has been blocked” and that you should call a number (provided in the message) to have it unblocked.
Scammers will also pretend to be PTA representatives and ask for money under the guise of registering a mobile device.
c) Threats & Extortion
Scammers attempt to steal someone’s identity or money, even threatening the person who answers the phone. Impersonating an Army officer is a popular scam technique.
d) Cash Transfer/”Sending a code.”
Scammers invent convincing and seemingly legitimate reasons to deceive the recipient of a message or caller. For example, a common technique is to send the receiver a message about accidentally transferring money into their EasyPaisa or other e-payment accounts, followed by a specific “code” or “message” back to them.
e) Prize/Lottery Scams
Scammers trick you into providing money or personal information in exchange for a prize from a lottery or competition that you may or may not have entered. These con artists usually impersonate popular TV game show hosts.
How to Protect Yourself from Scammers
It would help if you took precautions.
Do not open suspicious texts or click on links or attachments in SMS – instead, ignore and report. Be wary of any requests for personal information or money. Never send money or give ATM or PINs, online account information, or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
Furthermore, it would help to warn your friends and family about scams. If you are unsure whether you are being scammed, do not transfer any funds. Scammers will keep asking for more money until you give up.
If you have sent money or shared your banking information with a scammer, contact your bank and the police immediately. If the scammer has your account information, they may be able to stop a transaction or close your account.
Inform the authorities about any scams you come across.
First, report the scam number to your service provider (Jazz, Zong, Telenor, Ufone, or PTCL) for blocking of the suspected number. If you do not receive a response from the service provider, you can report the number to PTA for stopping by dialling 0800-55055 or visiting complaint.pta.gov.pk/RegisterComplaint
The PTA will block such numbers and the IMEI of mobile devices. Repeat offenses (using a different number) by the same person will result in the blocklisting of such CNICs for the issuance of new SIMs/connections.
If you suspect financial or banking fraud, don’t hesitate to contact the State Bank of Pakistan at email@example.com.
Contact the FIA helpline at 051 9106384 for further investigation.