Common scams to look out for
Even if you’re careful, it only takes a few seconds to become a victim to a fraud or scam. Here’s our quick guide on common scams to watch out for.
Cash point scams
ATM machines are being hit with more sophisticated types of fraud. This includes the use of secret cameras and fake keypads being placed over real cash point keyboards. Distraction fraud, where you are distracted while withdrawing cash, is also on the rise.
As an alternative you could use cashback or withdraw cash in branch to reduce your chances of fraud. If a machine looks suspicious, or doesn’t look right, then just walk away.
If you’re getting frequent cold calls then it’s may be worth using the number blocking feature on your phone. There are details about how to do this on the apple site.
Android and Windows devices also have an option to do this – you can find out by consulting your manual.
Alternatively you could use a call blocking app that weeds out any potential spam or phishing calls. Truecaller is an app for android, iPhone and Windows Mobile that will tell you about who is calling – and will block calls that other users have reported as spam. Leaving you less likely to receive phishing calls.
Never give out your banking credentials such as a PIN, online banking login or password over the phone. This is information that only you should have access to.
Phishing e-mails look to trick users in to sharing personal banking details on sites that aren’t the genuine article. It may look real, but if it’s asking you to enter account numbers, banking details or full login details for online banking then it’s likely to be worth deleting.
You can also find them in the form of e-mails that say you’re due a refund or for a fine that you need to pay. If it seems suspicious, or even too good to be true, get in touch with the organisation directly (not via any links in the e-mail) to make sure it’s legit.
Validate your details
If a person calls you out of the blue, claiming to be from your bank, then they should be able to access information about your account that only you would know. Things like your current direct debits and overdraft limit is useful information that you can ask for any bank to confirm if you’re in any doubt.
Buying concert or sporting tickets
Buying somebody tickets for a gig can usually put a smile their face. But if you’re the victim of a scam then you’ll have little reason to smile. If you’re searching on the internet, only buy from recognised outlets and websites. Tickets that are on sale when official sources haven’t released tickets should be avoided at all costs. A popular place for ticket resellers is ebay, who have a handy guide on buying tickets from the site.
Fraudsters are also turning to online dating sites in order to con people looking for love. Many new years’ resolutions can involve signing up to the likes of Match.com to find romance. While talking to unsuspecting daters, having gained their confidence, a con-artist will then say that they need money for an emergency or to pay for medical help. This is commonly known as dating or romance fraud. The Action Fraud site has more details.
What to do if you think you’ve been a victim of fraud?
Call your bank / Cancel Cards
Inform the relevant banks to stop or cancel your cards and check your account. It only takes a couple of minutes and it’s even worth storing the number for your bank in your mobile if you already haven’t.
Contactless cards may still work AFTER being cancelled
In some instances – contactless cards can still be used even AFTER they have been cancelled. This is because some retailers process payments hours after you have visited or made a purchase – rather than processing a payment instantly at the point of sale. The difference is that payments processed instantly will connect with your bank who should then flag that the card is cancelled. Payments that are processed hours after the initial transaction may flag a stolen card but may not stop the payment going through. While your bank should cover this loss, as long as you tell them, you should still keep a regular eye on your statements for any unusual activity.
Change your passwords
If any of your online accounts have been hacked or accessed then it’s worth changing the password for this and any other accounts which may share the same login details. As many people use the same details for a lot of sites, hackers will then use these details to access other accounts.
Register your details with CIFAS and report details of the scam to Action Fraud
If your details have been put at risk then it’s worth making sure that other banks and financial institutions know about it. By registering with CIFAS you can have a warning flag placed against your name and address on their National Fraud Database. As banks use this data, when processing credit or finance applications, they will know that they need to check that the person applying for credit is actually you. It costs £20 a year though you may have it as an additional extra on a packaged bank account.