Did you end up on a sucker list? Fraudsters compile databases of scam victims – thinking they can be tricked again
A suck list is a database of people who have already fallen for a scam.
It is used by fraudsters to target victims considered vulnerable or more likely to hand over personal information, such as an email address or mobile phone number.
Lists are often exchanged between scammers or criminal gangs via the Internet. New fraudsters can then use the information to retarget people.
Targets: Fraudsters use sucker lists to target victims who are considered vulnerable or who are more likely to hand over their personal data, such as an email address or cell phone number.
For example, they will contact those who have already been scammed and promise to help them recover their lost money for a fee.
Because they know the circumstances of the original fraud, victims are more likely to think they are being contacted by a legitimate organization – but, in fact, this is just another scam.
How did I get there?
As soon as you reply to a fraudulent message, for example by downloading an attachment to an e-mail or replying to an SMS, you become vulnerable.
When you click on a link, you provide valuable data to a fraudster, such as your mobile number.
This data is then cataloged by criminals, who can use the information to contact you or resell it for profit.
How do I get out?
Once you’re on a list, it’s nearly impossible to get off. When scammers have your details – for example, if you send them copies of your passport – they cannot be retrieved.
Jake Moore, cybersecurity adviser at software company ESET, says: “If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, consider changing your phone number and email address.
“You can also move all suspicious emails to your spam folder and block any numbers you don’t recognize.
“Never give out personal details over the phone and think twice before giving your personal details to someone.”
You can also register for the Telephone Preferences Service, which allows you to decline unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls.
A target forever?
“Being on a sucker list will naturally increase the likelihood of you being targeted by scams,” Moore says.
But you won’t necessarily always fall for scammers. Mr Moore recommends being extremely vigilant when asked for personal information and never giving out details such as your PIN over the phone.
Although you may be inundated with calls after your data has been shared by scammers, it may not last forever.
How can I be safe?
Always stop and think before parting with your money or information.
Only transmit essential data when requested, for example during an online purchase. Set up an email-only address for shopping online and ensure that each account has a secure, unique password.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, hang up and call the number on the back of your debit card.
Give callers your full attention. Never reveal personal details when distracted or in a hurry.
Only scammers will rush you.