Avoiding the scam epidemic

Research, carried out by YouGov and published by Lloyds Bank, discovered that more than 5 million people in this country had fallen victim to a financial scam during their lives. They surveyed 2,108 UK adults, with 10% reporting having fallen victim to a form of financial scam in the past. 25% of those surveyed said they knew someone who had been the victim of a financial scam.

The most common scams reported by those surveyed were fake emails and cold calls on the phone. Evolving modern technology is also making social media, company websites and even text messages favourite hunting grounds for scammers. The age group claiming to be best able to spot a financial scam were the over 65s, with those aged 35-44 feeling less confident in their ability to keep their money safe from scammers. Encouragingly, 33% of clued-up Brits said, although fraudsters had targeted them, they were able to put a stop to it before losing any money.

Lloyds Bank shared some top tips for stopping the fraudsters in their tracks

  • It’s essential always to use the latest version of anti-virus software to protect all of your digital devices. Keep this software up to date with the latest patches, to avoid falling victim to online fraud.
  • Treat emails and other forms of communication with a healthy degree of suspicion. If you receive an email asking you to make an instant payment, always double check the request is real by speaking to them in person, or by calling them on the number you have saved.
  • Get into the habit of checking email addresses for minor spelling addresses, as this can indicate the email originated from a scammer, rather than the genuine individual or organisation.
  • Also be wary of unexpected emails, where you should think twice before opening or clicking on any links and attachments. Be sure the email is genuine before exposing our computer system to the risk of viruses or malware.
  • The same principles apply to text messages on your mobile phone, which can look similar to the legitimate updates you receive from your bank.
  • Always question any requests to share personal details or move money between accounts. Your bank will never ask you to share your account details, including passwords and PINs.
  • Any request to transfer money between bank accounts is a huge red flag suggesting a financial scam is taking place. Contact your bank independently to verify the details before moving any money.
  • When using online banking services, check the web pages look normal. If they appear to look strange or different to usual, then don’t enter your username and passwords, as it can indicate a virus infection.
  • With fraudsters adapting to changing technology and using ever more sophisticated tactics, it’s vital that more people are aware of how to identify the signs of a scam.

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