Two million pounds a day was lost last year to financial fraud – that’s money stolen from you by scammers.
Today is Take Five Day with events taking place around the country to raise awareness of the ways scammers try to get hold of your cash. And it seems help is needed, with more than half of UK adults feeling it’s too complicated to talk about.
Three-quarters of people polled by Financial Fraud Action UK also revealed they are worried about getting scammed.
How scammers try to get your money
Yesterday we profiled three online tricks fraudsters are using – Pharming, Phishing and Smishing – and on Monday we had a guest post from the Pensions Regulator on pension fraud. But these aren’t the only scams to watch out for.
Here are a couple of the most common:
Some of the most common still happen via the phone, and this is called Voice Phishing, or Vishing. People call posing as someone they aren’t. Though it can take many forms, they often pretend to be from your bank or from the police. They then tell you there is a security issue with your account and they’ll try to get you to transfer your money to one of their accounts.
Though it’s not always easy to tell if the caller is legitimate, don’t take the risk. You should call the bank from a different phone line (or wait 10 minutes if that’s not possible), and always use the number from your card or an official document.
Some, like fake charity collectors and dodgy salespeople could just be after a quick buck. Others might be out to take a lot more. There are many cases of home improvement or maintenance scammers vastly overcharging for their services. Or thieves might be trying to checkout your property to see whether it’s worth coming back when you’re out.
Five ways to help avoid scams
The Take Five campaign shares five short pieces of advice to follow which should minimise how likely you are to fall for financial scams:
- Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password – it’s never right to reveal these details
- Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine – people aren’t always who they say they are
- Don’t be rushed – a bank or genuine organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think
- Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it
- Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information
You can also report any potential scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online. You should also speak to your bank.