It is incredible when you consider that last year £755 million was lost in financial scams. That’s a large number of victims who in some cases lose all of their life savings and will count the cost for the rest of their lives. In addition, business itself is also often the victim.
Did you know that a quarter of UK businesses admit they too have been the victims of financial fraud since 2014. So what can we all do to ensure that we keep our finances safe?
Official figures released by the Financial Fraud Action UK in September 2016 highlight that there were 1 million incidents of financial fraud in the first 6 months of 2016. This is a 53% increase compared to the same period the year before. A staggering statistic is that during the period just mentioned, one incident of fraud was therefore committed in the UK every 15 seconds.
Research on this is interesting. When asked 73% of us say that we are fully aware of the techniques that fraudsters use to con us. But 26% of us also say that we still provide personal details to people who say they are from our bank. So there is clearly a disconnect between what we know is right and what we then do.
The reason for this appears to be that scammers are so genuine and that people also feel very pressurised. What is also interesting is that victims say that they know very quickly that they have been the victim of fraud.
The Take Five campaign was launched in 2016 to help combat this level of fraud and to give practical advice to people. The campaign focuses on email fraud (known as phising) and phone and text based scams, also known as vishing and smishing. The whole point of this campaign is to encourage people just to stop and think and not to get pressurised in situations. Taking five is literally that-pause and think before you become a victim of fraud.
This campaign is being backed by Cifas, the City of London Police, the Government as well as major banks, credit, debit and charge card issuers. It is also supported by consumer groups.
Your bank or the police will never:
A phone scam is when someone calls you pretending to be from your bank or building society. They will often appear very convincing as they may have some of your basic details and sound very genuine. The key things to look out for with phone calls like this is that the caller will not be happy if you want to refer to a friend or family member and will be particularly insistent. They may even ask you to tap your PIN into the telephone keypad-whatever technique they use remember a bank will never call you asking for your PIN.
This type of scam is when you receive a text that pretends to be from your bank or building society. The key signs that this text may be fraud are when it asks you to provide sensitive information, asks you to call a number that is unknown to you and the text tells you that the request is urgent, the words ‘act now’ are often used.
Always be suspicious of e mails that appear to be from your bank. Things to watch out for include the senders address not matching the website address of say your bank, the email may not use your full name, again there will be a sense of urgency, a request for personal information and there may be spelling or grammar issues. In addition, if the entire text of the email is within an image start to question its validity.