We hear, over and over again, on the news and through other medias, about people who have fallen for some form of financial scam, publicising how they prey on the vulnerable, like the elderly or the lonely. But don’t be fooled into a false sense of security that it won’t ever happen to you, as more and more of us are opening ourselves up for these criminals to take their ill-gotten gains.
In 2018, £354m was lost to payment scams.
Here are some the current financial scams that around:
‘Safe account’ scams
You receive a call from a trusted organisation, like the police or your bank/building society, saying that your account is at risk and that you need to move your money in to a ‘safe account’ They will have set this up for you and give you the ‘safe account details. You move your money and then have lost it!
Never act from a call out of the blue and transfer money at their request. A trust organisation will NEVER ask you to do this.
Refund over-payment scams
A ‘representative’ from a telecoms or broadband provider will phone you and tell you that there is an issue with your PC and will request remote access to sort it. They will tell you that that you are due some compensation for the inconvenience and will ask you to log in to your bank account. Once they have access to your account they will pay in an amount, but what you don’t know is that they have taken this from your own savings account! They will then say that they have made an error and have paid you too much so will then ask you to pay the difference back to them. So, you will pay them back thinking that it is their money when really you are using your own savings to refund them!
Never be rushed into allowing remote access. Always check and be sure of who you are dealing with.
A criminal will make contact, trying to get you to invest in something that will make you a lot of money, like diamonds, gold or even wine or alternative energy. But the investments don’t exist, and you will not see any return on your money.
Always look at the Financial Conduct authority’s website before you make any kind of investment. This will give you a list of potential fraudsters, so you can check the risks of the potential investment.
Online purchase scams
You spot something online that you really like and can’t believe the price, for example a phone or car or concert tickets. The seller wants you buy it through less secure payment methods than the one advertised on the site, where you as the buyer will not be protected. You will be communicating by email with them which will make you feel more confident in purchasing. But as soon as you send the money over, guess what? No more emails or communications and your ‘purchase’ will never appear.
Always use reputable websites or apps. For items like cars it is best to see what you’re buying before you pay for it. If the price is too good to be true, then it always be vigilant, because it’s probably not true!
Email hack scams
You receive an email from a person or company that you have been dealing with. Could be a builder, as you are having an extension built. The email asks you for payment and will tell you that their bank details have changed from any previous payments you have made to them. You make the payment to the new account, not realising that it’s a scammer who has hacked the business or persons email address or database.
Always use the original contact details you had with the company/person. If they say they have changed their bank account, contact them directly to make sure that its genuine.
Advance fee scams
You will be contacted to tell you that you have to pay an upfront fee in order to receive goods, or lottery winnings or a loan you have asked for. You make the payment, and then receive nothing!
Never part with your money until you have done some research into the offer to establish whether it is genuine.
Perhaps, one of the cruellest scams. This is preying on a persons loneliness, you meet someone online, who then over time builds up your confidence in them, and you develop feelings for them and then they start asking you for money, maybe little bits to start with, but then it escalates. Then after you’ve sent over money, you end up never hearing from them again, because usually, they don’t exist. They have used a fake photo and fake name and story to entice you to eventually part with your money.
Go through a reputable dating agency online, making sure your conversation goes through them and never send money to someone you have met online.
A trickster will claim they are the police on an undercover investigation into fraud and that your bank account is involved. They will ask to withdraw an amount of cash and then a ‘courier’ will be round to collect it. You do this thinking you are assisting the police, but sadly you will never see your money again.
Do not give out your banking information (for example, you card or PIN) or take out money/buy goods for someone who claims this is necessary for an investigation. A genuine organisation would never ask you to do this.
Money mule scams
You see a job advertised online and it looks genuine. It will offer great opportunities and you can earn easy money for a few hours a week. It’s a scam that gets you, unknowingly’ involved in moving money earned from Crimes. You become a ‘money Mule’. It could result in your bank account being frozen and you linked to the criminals, which could mean prosecution. Your information from this will be shared with other banks and your reputation will be tarnished, making it harder for you to ever have a bank account again.
A genuine company will never ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. Don’t accept any job offers that ask you to do this. Be especially wary of job offers from people or companies overseas - it will be harder for you to find out if they are genuine.
REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE -IF IT LOOKS OR SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, DON’T PART WITH ANY MONEY UNTIL YOU HAVE CHECKED IT/THEM OUT.