I’m sure we’ve all been scammed or been a victim to some sort of fraud or even received a text or email prompting us for personal information and money. It’s happened to me on a few occasions but acting quickly seriously helped. My credit card was cloned and a few payments were taken. However due to contacting my credit card company and being one of those neurotic people who checks their online bank accounts daily it was quickly picked up and dealt with right away.
I was kindly invited to the Take Five Event at the Hucklestree, Shoreditch hosted by the lovely ladies over at Mumsnet to learn more about fraud and scam prevention. We sat and listened to experts and influencers on a panel who included Carrie Langton, co-founder of Mumsnet, Phil Robertson, head of Future Bank for Tesco, Elaine Ross, head of fraud at TSB, Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer, influencer from Not Another Mummy Blogger, Alison Perry and Motherhood the Real Deal blogger, Tayla Stone.
I came away with some invaluable tips so I’m going to share them with you in this blog post. I think it’s so important we get the word out there and help stop those scammers and fraudsters from taking our hard-earned cash.
Top Tips to Beating Fraud and Scams
1. Consider the best way to pay. Credit cards are the best way to pay for good and services as they offer considerably more protection than a debit card. Also using PayPal is another option as their customer service resolution team are brilliant at helping you get your money back if you’ve been scammed.
2. If it sounds too good to be true than it probably is. We’ve all received those emails that say you’re owed £x tax return fill in this form below.. DON’T do it! HMRC never email and will always send letters in the post. Check who the sender of the email is and if in doubt call HMRC or the business directly yourself.
3. Always use websites you trust and are familiar with. If it doesn’t have a padlock icon in the address bar or the site doesn’t begin with ‘https’ stay well away.
4. Create passwords that are long and use a mixture of letters, numbers and that are both upper and lower case. It’s also best to change your password on a regular basis.
5. Be cautious of companies who ask for your user id, passwords or any other classified information. Genuine companies will not ask you for these details, there usually only asked for when you’re logging into your secured online banking.
And finally, take five and stop and think;
If you’ve grown suspiciously aware of fraudulent activity or are unsure about what letter, email or text you’ve received contact the company directly and NEVER give out any personal details.
Different Types of Fraud/Scams
A push payment is a specific kind of scam where consumers are socially engineered into authorising the transfer of funds to an account they believe belongs to a legitimate payee or organisation, for example, a‘safe account’.E.g. A customer discusses making a booking on Airbnb and receives an email request to transfer a payment into an account with the details included in the email, instead of going through the usual provider’s channels. Once the money has been transferred by the customer, this is a form of push payment fraud in which the bank is not liable to cover the loss of money, because it is an authorised and willing transfer of funds.
Clicks and links
A text might not be from who you think – ‘Smishing’ is when criminals pretend a message is from your bank or another organisation you trust. They will usually tell you there has been fraud on your account and will ask you to deal with it by calling a number or visiting a fake website to update your personal details.
Criminals don’t just try and contact you by phone and text, they also ‘phish’, contacting you by email too. So always be suspicious of unsolicited emails that are supposedly from your bank or some other trusted organisation because the address can easily be faked. Never automatically click on any links they contain either, not before stopping to check if they seem genuine first.
Sharing personal information
Sharing personal information is a specific scam where conversations with customers are engineered to gather information from a customer that is used to defraud them. The key things to remember are to always question uninvited approaches and never give out personal or financial details, in case it’s a scam. Always contact the company you think the call is from directly using a known email or phone number.
Well-known fraud and scams
Email from HMRC offering a refund
A Call from your bank about fraud asking you to move your money to a safe account
An email from a foreign prince offering untold riches if money is transferred to them
Message from WhatsApp asking you to input financial information in order to continue to use the service
Call from a broadband provider to say the internet connection is running slow and their engineer can ‘fix’ the problem by taking control of your computer
Email from Amazon asking you to disclose personal information to reactivate your
Text message offering money off at a supermarket if a link in the message is clicked
Call from a builder or contractor asking for money to be paid directly to a new bank
Email from your utility provider offering a refund
Student Loans Company email stating loans have been suspended due to incomplete student information
For more information on avoiding fraud head over to the Take Five website.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.