In the UK, over half the adults (51%) say they are concerned about scams, and a quarter (23%) say they are much more concerned about scams now than they were a year ago. Perhaps unsurprising as our research found that 20% of UK adults have fallen victim to a banking/finance related scam.
Although some scams can occur without your involvement, most scams require some action from you to succeed. To help keep your money safe follow our top five tips:
Always check with trusted sources
If you receive a text or email out of the blue that’s seemingly from a delivery company, your bank, a utility provider, or a government department – do not reply directly or click on any links included. Instead, find the company’s official website or number from a trusted source and confirm that the message is legitimate. If someone contacts you, never provide your personal information. Just hang up or ignore the message and contact customer service through a trusted source and follow the usual authentication protocols.
When in doubt, check the app
Regularly checking your accounts online is the easiest way to spot any unfamiliar charges. Most banks and savings providers will offer an app to access your accounts on the go, which can enable you to quickly spot a mistakes or unusual activity. The sooner you spot something that doesn’t look right, the better chance you have of keeping your cash secure.
If it’s too good to be true…
A new scam involving fake websites advertising investment bonds, Bitcoin, and ISA’s has become extremely dangerous to savers who are looking for products with increased rates. The scammers will often pressurise you with time-sensitive demands to transfer money or “risk missing out on this investment opportunity”. Be very sceptical, do your research online and look up the provider through the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) Register.
Don’t overshare on social media
It may seem obvious but avoid sharing important personal details on social media such as your address, contact details or financial information. If you’re contacting a bank with a query, first double-check it’s the official social media account and then message them privately – don’t share any personal details beyond a phone number or email address. The fewer details scammers can find out about you, the harder it is for them to impersonate your bank or commit identity fraud. If you’ve overshared online, consider asking your bank to apply extra monitoring to your account and set up payment alerts so you know when money goes out of your account.
Take Five to stop fraud
Take Five have a wealth of resources available on their websites, which give detailed guidance and best practice on how to avoid scams. Use online searches to look up unknown phone numbers and compare them against legitimate contact details on official websites, such as the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). To help others you may also forward any spam you receive to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or forward the spam text to 7726.