With the Financial Ombudsman releasing details of a number of case studies showing how households have been scammed over the last 12 months, we’ve put together a list of the Top 5 fraudulent schemes by tricksters that you need to be aware of.
Vishing (a word that is the combination of ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’) is the act of deception via telephone. A fraudster makes a phone call to you, posing as a bank representative, broadband/energy supplier or similar, with the intention of getting you to disclose personal account information to them which can then be used for identity theft.
Similar to the above, Phishing is where fraudsters try to obtain sensitive information from you/your company by means of electronic communication. It could be a bogus email that directs you to a website that seemingly belongs to your bank, asking you to input your account details when in fact the website is fake. It could be a message via any of the social media platforms that you use asking you to provide details of your username and password for a random security check. This type of scam has become a lot more sophisticated over the years (we’ve all learnt to not trust the email from a royal African prince claiming that he wants to deposit $5,000,000 into our account) and you should never disclose any personal information via the web unless you 100% trust the site that you are accessing.
Upfront Payment Fees
Be extremely wary of paying any upfront costs for compensation claim payouts, loans or other services. The joy of receiving a letter telling you that you’ve been awarded £3,000 as long as you make an initial 10% deposit to the company can soon turn to sorrow when you realise too late that you’ve been scammed. Similarly, be careful if any trade/serviceperson offers you a fantastic deal but asks for money upfront. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Buying and Selling Items on Auction/Social Media Sites
Caution should be taken when buying/selling goods online as many fraudsters target this area. If you are buying something without seeing the item first, make sure that the seller is trusted and that your payment is protected in case of any wrongdoing. If you are selling something, make sure that you send the item to the buyer’s registered address only, otherwise it could invalidate your claim if something goes wrong.
Many websites offer free or discounted membership services for a limited time only, asking you to provide your card and address details upon signup. Unfortunately, many scammers target unsuspecting victims this way and continue to take money from their account long after the free trial period has ended, even if the subscription is cancelled.
The cost of fraud to the United Kingdom is at an all-time high. We now live in an age where a lot of personal information is available to people at the click of a button, but by being aware of the above scams you can better protect yourself in the future.