I’ve been following and supporting Take Five to Stop Fraud over the last couple of months, which is backed by UK Finance representing financial institutions and Government, I’ve come to realise just how important it is to familiarise ourselves with the various ways scammers use to take our money. Serious and organised crime costs the UK economy an estimated £24 billion a year, which is just crazy to me, this is clearly a really big problem. Take Five is here as a national campaign that offers advice and help to consumers in a way that prevents financial fraud. It’s all about taking those vital five minutes to think before handing out your personal information. Criminals operate super sophisticated scams that can catch out even the savviest of people.
I thought I would bullet point all the different scams criminals use to familiarise ourselves:
- Push Payments: 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
- Clicking on links/files: ‘Smishing’ is where criminals pretend a message is from your bank or another organisation you trust. They will usually tell you there is fraudulent activity on your account and will ask you to deal with it by calling a number or visiting a fake website.
- Personal Information: Sharing your information is a scam where conversations with customers are engineered to gather information from a customer that is used to defraud them.
There are so many ways we can protect ourselves but we should all start by thinking about this one key message ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so’
I really wanted to discuss how important this key message is in relation to busy mothers like ourselves. There have been so many situations where I’ve been washing up, making dinner, answering the doorbell, dealing with the children one of which is shouting ‘Mummy Mummy!’ Juggling all the daily demands, feeling pressured and completely swept off my feet. Then my phone goes off and there’s this ‘important’ looking text from my bank saying ‘x’ amount of money has been withdrawn. Call this number immediately to stop the transaction. My first reaction is to just drop everything I’m doing and call the number in sheer panic but it’s so important to Take Five and think before acting.
Instead of calling the number or handing out your personal information you could take five by doing any one of these fives tasks:
- Go and put the kettle on and make yourself a cup of tea
- Finish the washing up and pop a load of laundry on
- Play with the children or set out a task for them for example colouring or painting
- Start prepping dinner
- Go and run yourself a bath so you can take five and relax
Five minutes of your time doing one of the above activities as a mother gives us enough time to trust our instincts because if something feels wrong then it usually is. Fraudsters rely on our defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by daily life, chores and children. Stay in control and be confident, refuse any strange or unusual requests. It’s okay to stop the conversation if you do not feel in control or comfortable and lastly remember its YOUR money. Take Five and say ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so!’