Think you’re too savvy to be scammed by fraudsters?
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Fraudsters can scam you out of money on any device and at any time – as Kate* discovered when she became a victim of a scarily convincing phone scam…
No matter how tech savvy you are, or how careful you are with your money, it’s unbelievably easy to fall into the trap of a text, phone or email scam.
In fact, in the UK we lose a staggering £2 million a day to scammers,**and someone becomes a victim of financial fraud every 15 seconds.
Kate, a picture editor, was one of them.
‘I like to think of myself as being smart when it comes to safeguarding my personal details,’ recalls Kate, 30. ‘But looking back, I now see how easily I was scammed.’
She’d upgraded her phone just a few days earlier, so thought nothing of it when the phone company rang, saying they wanted to check how she was getting on, and to iron out any network issues.
Far from being suspicious, Kate was impressed with the level of customer service.
‘The man on the phone sounded legit,’ she says. ‘He said he wanted to check that he had the correct payment details for my direct debit, and because he knew the last four digits of my long card number, I assumed it was okay to confirm the rest of it.’
But by telling him her full debit card number, including the expiry date and the code on the back of the card, Kate had unwittingly given the phone-scammer everything he needed to take money from her account.
‘As soon as I hung up, I felt uneasy, as the phone conversation had ended rather abruptly,’ Kate says. ‘Later that day I rang the provider again to check it out. They said they hadn’t rung me and would never have called to confirm those payment details over the phone.’
Alarmed and anxious, she checked her bank statement – to discover £50 had already been spent in a DIY store.
‘At that point I realised I’d been scammed and rang the bank immediately to cancel my card. Thankfully I was reimbursed but felt really embarrassed when explaining how it had happened. These days, I tell everyone I know to answer unknown calls with caution. And I never give out my personal details.’
Instead of sharing your personal or financial details, Take Five to stop, think, and then remind yourself of this simple phrase: My money? My info? I don’t think so! It’s the simplest way to stop fraud.
Here are some of the other most common scams, and how to ensure you don’t become a victim…
Don’t click on links: Watch out for emails or texts that invite you to click on a link. For example, you may receive an email saying you’re owed a refund from an official body, like TV Licensing. Or it may be an official-looking email saying you have been caught speeding and must pay a fine online. In either case, you’ll be invited to click on a link, which leads you to a fake website which will ask you to enter personal or financial details. Once scammers have these, it’s easy for them to steal from you.
Answer calls with caution: You might get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank or a trusted company, telling you there’s a problem with your account. It’s scary to be told someone has accessed your account, or there has been unauthorised activity. The caller knows you will be worried and may urge you to move your money into a separate, ‘safe’ account where it will be protected. But it’s a scam – a real bank or company would NEVER do this, or ask you to give your full personal or financial details over the phone.
Scammers can be very convincing, so stay alert and keep your money safe in 2018.
*Name has been changed
** Financial Fraud Action UK Data 2016.
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