Fraudsters are getting more and more creative, and building societies and banks have recently seen an increase in the number of customers targeted with financial scams by fraudsters.
Fraudsters deceive people into handing over their money, account assets (e.g. debit/ATM cards) or personal details, allowing them to gain access to victims’ money or commit fraud in their name. Read on to find out more about different types of fraud scams, and what you can do to protect yourself and your money. When you’ve finished reading our advice, don’t stop there. Spread the word to your loved ones; you might prevent them becoming a victim too.
A fraudster calls claiming to be from a bank/building society, the police, utility company or IT company and informs the victim there’s a problem with their account or computer.
The victim is advised that to protect their money, they need to do one of the following:
In all of these cases the actions of the victim allow the fraudster access to their money.
Emails are sent with links to fake websites encouraging people into entering personal, login/card details, or account information.
Victims may also run the risk of their computer or smartphone being infected by viruses. Once details are entered, criminals then record this information and use it to commit identity theft and bank fraud.
This is when fraudsters obtain personal details of a victim by SMS text messages.
SMS phishing uses text messages to convince people to divulge their personal information (full debit card or bank account details). Fraudsters can go on to use this personal information to commit fraud.
Victims think they’ve met their perfect partner online, when in reality they are fraudsters.
Once the fraudster is confident they’ve gained the victim’s trust, they will tell them about an emotive problem they are experiencing, or a wish to visit the victim, and ask them for money to help. When the victim sends money, the fraudster will often come back with reasons to send them even more money.
A salesman uses clever tactics to pressurise you into buying something you don’t want or something that’s poor value for money on your doorstep.
Bogus tradesmen promote goods or services that are never delivered to you or are of a very poor quality. They can often convince victims they need work doing that isn’t needed or may bill them for work that they didn’t agree to.
There are specific laws about door-to-door sales in which many are required to give you a ‘cooling-off’ period (where you can change your mind or request your money back). Bogus tradesmen will offer none of these, and even if they do, you can be sure their ‘guarantee’ will not be honoured.
They provide false contact information, making it impossible for you to identify or contact them. If you’ve paid them in advance, you won’t get your money back. Once they get through your door, fraudulent salespeople can take note of your valuables and any security measures you have in place.
Advance fee scams are when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.
The victim applies for a loan and is advised they must pay a ‘fee’ in advance of the loan money being sent or the victim is advised they have won the lottery or a prize but must pay a ‘fee’ in advance of receiving this. The victim either sends money direct to the fraudster’s account or is advised to purchase ‘gift cards’ and contact the fraudster with the code numbers. In all instances the victim never receives their money or prize.
Fraudsters hack into the email chains between house buyers and their solicitors to divert money that was supposed to be used to purchase a house.
The fraudster, posing as the house buyer’s solicitor, sends an email to the house buyer notifying them their bank account details have changed. The house buyers send their money to the new bank account which has been set up by the fraudster, rather than their solicitor’s genuine bank account.
Fraudsters set up fake websites or adverts offering holidays or other goods for sale at an incredibly cheap rate.
The victim views the website or advert, which has pictures of the holiday accommodation or goods that don’t actually exist. The victim communicates with fraudsters and purchases the holiday/goods. They are requested to send the money by bank transfer, Moneywise or Western Union rather than paying by debit/credit card or PayPal.
Fraudsters send a fake invoice or bill to a company, requesting payment for goods or services.
The invoice might state that the due date for the payment has passed, or threaten that non-payment will affect credit rating to encourage the receiver to pay the invoice.
Someone pretending to be from your bank or building society contacts you and convinces you to tell them your card details. They arrange for a courier to pick up your card to take it away for evidence or to be destroyed. The card is collected by the fraudsters to withdraw money from your account.
They say their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your card or it needs to be replaced. They then ask you to read out your credit or debit card PIN or type it on your phone keypad as well as other personal information. They try to offer you peace of mind by sending a courier to you to collect your bank card. The fraudster will have personal details to withdraw cash using the card and can use the information to commit identity fraud in your name.
When a person pays a travel agent or agency, or someone offering short-term lodging for rent or a holiday online but the holiday they’ve booked (or parts of it) doesn’t exist.
Fraudsters use fake online adverts, bogus sales calls, emails and text messages offering incredibly cheap rates to tempt you in to booking a holiday with them. They may steal images of hotels or rented apartments from other travel websites and pass them off as their own. You’re told to pay in cash or via a bank transfer, such as MoneyWise or Western Union, which can be difficult to trace and isn’t refundable. In some cases, the fraudster may completely end contact after you’ve paid and won’t confirm anything you’ve booked; the holiday they’ve offered doesn’t exist.
A business opportunity which claims to offer a quick way to make a lot of money from home without having any qualifications, skills or expertise is advertised.
Before starting any work, the victim has to pay money upfront, usually in the form of a registration fee or to enable the ‘employer’ to buy goods. After this money has been paid, the victim either finds that there is no work to do or they will not be paid for any work done.
Fraudsters making people believe the caller they are speaking to a trusted organisation by fooling their phones into displaying a number the fraudster choose.
Fraudsters clone the telephone number of the organisation they want to impersonate and then make it appear on the victim’s caller ID display when they telephone them. They then pose as bank, credit card company or government department and ask for personal information. The fraudsters will then gain the person’s trust by highlighting the telephone number to them, claiming that this is proof of their identity, before trying to scam them in various ways.
Sophisticated marketing techniques, including cold calling, text messages, website pop-ups or even door-step selling, convince victims to have a free pension review.
The review promises higher returns on their investment, but rather than transferring their fund to the new investment, the fund goes to the fraudster’s account instead.
‘Boiler rooms’ full of sales people using high pressure cold calling techniques to sell worthless or overpriced shares.
Contact can come by phone, email, post or through advertising. People who own shares in a company may receive a call offering to buy them, usually at a higher price than their market value. This may come with a request for money up front, which the fraudsters claim will be paid back if the sale doesn’t progress. In reality, the victim never hears from the fraudsters again.
If you are concerned that:
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Call our helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Alternatively you can visit your nearest branch or report it online