HOW TO AVOID FALLING VICTIM TO FRAUDSTERS
Increasingly sophisticated scams have emerged and evolved over the past decade. If you have elderly parents or vulnerable friends, share this article with them.
Over the past decade Guardian Money has highlighted increasingly sophisticated scams as they have emerged and evolved. Some may decry the victims for stupidity, but are unaware of how incredibly persuasive fraudsters can be, and how they exploit every weakness in the financial system. If you have elderly parents or vulnerable friends, give them a copy of this.
- If you take a call at home or receive any communication from your bank, assume it is fraudulent until you have established it is not. Fraudsters will claim to be from the bank and have spotted unusual or fraudulent transactions on your account. Their aim is to make you fear for your savings, and act illogically.
- Never say where you bank, or give any personal information to callers, whoever they claim to be. If you think it could really be the bank, ask for the person’s name and say you will call them back. Note, the scammers may also claim to be the local police investigating staff at your local bank branch. The real police will always give their collar number, so ask for this and call them back.
- Your next step is to make sure the phone line has not been kept open. Until recently, fraudsters would invite victims to call the number on the back of their bank card but keep the line open, and scam people who thought they were talking to the bank.
- BT has largely closed this loophole. But before phoning the bank, make a call to a friend to establish the line is clear. You can then call the bank or the police. If the original call was genuine, the named person will deal with the matter. The above also applies if you get a call from your credit card firm, PayPal, your phone or TV provider or any firm with which you have a financial arrangement. If they quote your account number it means nothing, so be on your guard. Many Talk-Talk customers lost huge sums after being rung up by fraudsters quoting them their personal details (all stolen from the company). They claimed they were trying to pay victims a refund “for poor service”. In fact, they raided their bank accounts.
- Be wary of any requests for money sent by email (even if you are expecting one and it comes from a trusted person). Earlier this year Money featured a couple who lost thousands after they had sent their builder his deposit. It later emerged the builder’s email account had been hacked. Faced with an email request, always call the person to make sure it is genuine before making an online transfer. Ideally, send £1 and check that it has arrived. Set up two-step verification for your email account.
- If you are booking holiday accommodation, never send money to pay for it without speaking to the owner first. Better still, use the holiday site’s internal payment system that lets you pay by credit card. Never use a bank transfer to pay for an Airbnb booking, however plausible the reason. If buying a used car, only pay in cash on delivery. Do not send money for a car you have not physically seen, however, cheap a deal, and however trustworthy the dealer may appear.
- If you find yourself making an online payment to a stranger, STOP and ask why are you doing it? Never give your online banking log-in details to anyone, irrespective of who they claim to be. Banks will never ask you to move money to another account. Talk to a family member, or go into your bank, before doing anything. If unexpected large sums of money appear in your account as a result of a conversation with someone, this is classic scam territory.
- Consider a trueCall call blocker, popular with older people. It costs £99 and will block all calls except from friends and family, or other numbers that you input into the system. However, it may mean that some calls you need will not get through (though there is an answerphone facility). Your phone number is all a hacker needs to read texts, listen to calls, and track you.
Culled from Guardian Money
May 05, 2018