Fraud and scams no longer target just the elderly and vulnerable. Often criminals will use ways of getting hold of your bank or other personal details to steal money from your account(s).
Fraud is becoming ever more sophisticated but people are still caught out by traditional phone and letter scams, so you must remain constantly alert to suspicious activity.
Fraud comes in many guises whether a home visit, phone call, letter, text, email or on the web. One common factor though is that they are all hoping to con you out of YOUR cash.
Financial abuse can take a variety of different forms within different relationships, including intimate partners, family members or carers. It might be financial control, exploitation or sabotage. This can happen within partner relationships, care homes or wider family groups.
If you believe that you or someone you know is a victim of financial abuse the ‘Its Your Money’ leaflet produced by UK Finance provides information on what to do when financial abuse happens and provides details about the help and support available.
Be aware of phone scams
Fraudsters may call and pretend that they are your building society/bank or the Police and tell you there’s a problem with your account passbook, debit or credit card. They may ask you for personal details or to key your card PIN into the phone and tell you they are sending a courier to collect your passbook/card. They may also say that you are due a refund for overpayment or are owed money to obtain your details.
If you receive this type of call say you will call them back. Find the number for the company from the company’s website or any previous correspondence you have had with them e.g. a monthly statement. Be aware that scammers sometimes don’t hang up after the initial call so always check the call is properly disconnected before calling the bank or Police to report it – wait 5 minutes or use a different phone if you can to do this.
Fraudsters may also say they are from a satellite TV provider, phone or utility company and offer you a refund but to process the refund, they'll ask you for account details or to do a transaction involving your debit card. NEVER give them your account details, password or PIN.
Look out for emails, websites and hyperlinks
Be careful of any email from a retailer, building society or bank is badly-worded or littered with spelling mistakes or if an email has an urgent deadline for response. A common email scam is for a tax rebate. HMRC will never email you about any money you are owed - it will always write to you via the post.
You should NEVER click on a link and enter your password - no matter how genuine it looks. NEVER open an attachment unless you are 100% sure of its contents.
If you are not familiar with a website BE WARY as bogus websites are sometimes set up to facilitate financial crime and reputable search engine do not always return reputable websites.
Always log out properly from any online service and avoid using computers in public places.
Keep your web browser up-to-date and your PC protected with the latest anti-virus software as web viruses can help steal money.
We take your privacy and security seriously. To help you stay protected, here are some things that we will never do:
- Send someone to your home to collect cash, passbooks, bank cards or anything else
- Ask you to email or text personal or banking information
- Call or email you to ask for any PIN numbers or online passwords
- Send an email with a link to a page which asks you to enter any online log-in details
- Call or email you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account or hand over cash
- Ask you to carry out a test transaction online
What to do if you are suspicious or if you become the victim of a scam?
- If it looks or sounds suspicious report it
- If you have sent money DO NOT send any more
- If you have already responded DO NOT enter into any further communication
- Call your Building Society and/or Bank immediately using the number on their website or other communication and cancel any transactions relating to the scam
- Report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk
- Speak to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506 or the Financial Conduct Authority's helpline on 0800 111 6768
- Beware of other scams as you may be targeted again, particularly by firms offering to recover funds you have lost
Scammers continue to find ever more creative ways to get your cash so this guide can never be completely comprehensive.
One simple principle to remember is:
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is
Frauds and scams no longer target just the elderly and vulnerable. Often these are ways of getting hold of your bank or other personal details to steal money from your account(s).