Effective frauds are usually the most simple
Most of us are aware of the risk of being a victim of fraud. We take basic precautions to guard our passwords, especially those to do with money and banking or when using the internet to buy goods and services online.
However, according to research, we are at our most vulnerable when we are telephoned or contacted directly via email or text from callers pretending to be from trusted organisations, but who are really fraudsters. These ‘impersonation’ calls have seen a massive increase with over 33,000 fraud cases already in the first half of the year, according to UK Finance.
The numbers represent a doubling in cases against the same period last year and accounted for nearly £130 million being stolen from unwitting victims.
In the most common of these attacks during the pandemic, fraudsters send a person a message, seemingly from a legitimate number, to claim that a small payment is needed before a package can be delivered.
When the recipient clicks on the link, it redirects them to a copycat website where victims are requested to give their bank details to make the ‘made up’ payment. Having done so, those details are then used to withdraw money from the account.
The UK Finance survey also highlighted that because we don’t like to be rude, we will listen to calls or take messages even if we do not know the caller. Over 92% of people questioned said they found it difficult to say no when contacted.
Unprompted phone calls, texts or emails claiming to be from your bank, building society or other organisation requesting information about you personally or asking for financial information, should be terminated as soon as possible without providing any information. Instead, it is recommended that if a person is approached in such a way, they should contact that organisation via a trusted contact number or email to find out if the original call was genuine.
Most financial organisations will never approach a customer to provide sensitive information over the phone. Also check the website address you have been given if asked to enter bank details online. In most cases, it will not be a complete match.
Lastly, if you have elderly relatives, make sure their telephones block calls from unknown sources and they are told to refer any such requests or calls to you.
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