Sunday , October 2 2022
phone scams

How to protect yourself from online, email, and phone scams

Despite scammers’ ever-changing methods, like phone scams, email and link traps here is a basic info to help you prevent losing money to them.

Fraudsters/Scammers will try to get you to transfer money quickly by claiming that your money is in jeopardy or that you are about to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

According to Paul Maskall, fraud and cybercrime prevention manager at UK Finance, they create a sense of “urgency, authority, and scarcity” to put pressure on victims. Their schemes often succeed “because we are distracted, such as on the way to school or at work.”

Consumers are advised to stop and think before handing out any money or personal information, according to the financial trade body’s Take Five anti-fraud campaign.

Take a moment to examine the issue if you’re under pressure to make quick decisions — even pausing for a few minutes can help you spot a scammer.

Rereading a message can help you recognize a possible scam: a fake text may contain spelling errors, while an email may be sent from a slightly different address than that of a reputable person or firm.

Your bank will never call you to ask you to transfer funds to a new account, so don’t give in to the pressure.

High investment returns offered on social media are almost always too good to be true. There is always time to research a firm before entrusting it with your money. A checking tool on the Get Safe Online website can help you quickly determine whether a page is likely to be real. You can also look up regulated investing firms on the Financial Conduct Authority’s online register.

Fraudsters posing as family members on WhatsApp and asking for money has become a recent trend. If you receive a communication like this, instead of sending the money, you can verify its authenticity by contacting the actual family member through another method.

Ignore the links

Even if the message appears to come from a company or someone you trust, do not click on links in texts or emails. Con artists continuously alter their strategies to deceive victims, so there are always new scams to be cautious of.

Because fraudsters are drawn to current events, there was a spike in parcel scams and bogus NHS test-and-trace texts during the outbreak. According to Maskall, scammers related to the cost of living crisis have increased, such as individuals posing as the local council contacting you to offer you a council tax rebate.

Even if it isn’t a scam you recognize, you should ignore any text or email communications requesting you to click on a link until you are certain it is authentic.

Phone scams

HM Revenue & Customs, your bank, or another financial institution may call you out of the blue from time to time, but this is rare and should raise red flags.

Fraudsters can bypass caller ID, so even if you receive a call from a number you recognize, it isn’t always safe to answer. They can also take over text chains with your bank via number spoofing.

If you weren’t expecting a call and aren’t sure who you’re talking to, hang up right away and look up their official phone number so you can contact them again.

Similarly, even if it is someone you know, you should phone them on a trusted number before making a payment if they ask for money by text or email or inform you their payment details have changed.

Review your security settings

Because the majority of scams take place at least in part online, it makes sense to beef up your security settings.

Hackers can obtain personal information from your emails or social media profiles, which they can use to persuade you that the fraud is authentic. Invoice scammers employ these techniques to intercept messages sent to a trusted party, such as a solicitor or a builder. They can then take over the email thread and imitate the writing style in order to persuade the recipient to transfer a big sum of money to a new bank account.

To protect your email and social media accounts being hijacked, make sure you have strong passwords and don’t use the same one on many accounts. If you have trouble remembering passwords, use a password manager.

Payment

Even if you’ve determined that the individual you’re working with is trustworthy, you should proceed with caution before handing over any money or personal information. For example, you may transfer £5 first and then phone the target recipient to see if it has arrived in their account.

Many banks will send you a warning if the account information you’re sending money to doesn’t match what they have on file, which can save you money. This is known as payee confirmation, and it is used to prevent fraud and mistakes.

“Banks issue warnings; don’t just click through them,” says Patrick Hurley, the Financial Ombudsman Service’s lead ombudsman and director of casework.

If you shop online with a credit or debit card, you can request a chargeback from your card issuer if you are cheated. For expenditures between £100 and £30,000, credit card holders may be able to file a claim under the Consumer Credit Act.

Use the official payment method given by the platform while shopping on an online marketplace, such as eBay, to ensure you are covered if something goes wrong. Don’t be enticed to make a bank transfer payment.

Make a strategy

Know what to do if you fall victim to a scam; the sooner you act, the better your chances of getting your money back.

If the payment has not yet gone through, contact your bank right once because it may be able to prevent money from leaving your account. Before the con artist moves your money on, banks might try to recover it from the bogus account.

Most major UK banks, including HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays, and Nationwide, have signed up to the contingent reimbursement model (CRM) code, which establishes guidelines for when clients should be reimbursed for unauthorized push payments fraud. If your bank isn’t a member, it will have its own policies for reimbursing consumers who have been defrauded.

If your bank refuses to refund you despite following its complaints system, call the Financial Ombudsman, who will review the situation and determine whether or not you are entitled to a refund.

According to Hurley, four out of every five instances escalated to the watchdog are resolved in the consumer’s favor.

Source: theguardian.com

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