Avoiding Fraudsters in the UK Scam Scene
The issue of scamming is no secret to the British public, but what is being done to tackle it?
It is predicted that scams cost Brits £10 billion each year and yet, only 5% are reported to the police. Being able to confidently avoid scams is now more important than ever.
Both embarrassment and a lack of awareness account for such a low number of reported scams. The Local Government Association (LGA) has previously stated that fraud is the most common type of crime, so the aim is to increase vigilance and encourage you to not feel humiliated by these fraudsters.
‘fraud is the most common type of crime’
Research by UK Finance has found that the most popular type of scams in Britain are purchase scams; this is where a person pays for a service or product that they believe to be genuine but isn’t.
Between January and June of 2018, purchase scams cost £19.4 million over 21,483 individual cases and investment fraud cost £20.9 million — these are just small areas of the scamming scene that are having profound impacts on wider society.
So how do we avoid these clever ploys? Trusted double glazing in Newcastle service David Laing takes a look at the different scenarios that you could encounter:
The importance of cyber security has attracted more attention over the past few years. Your online inbox is a place where you should be extra vigilant as it is predicted that we receive over 400,000 phishing emails (scams) every year.
The whispers that information remains on the internet forever are not just rumours. For fraudsters, email addresses are probably the easiest things to get hold of.
‘Your online inbox is a place where you should be extra vigilant’
You’ve probably entered it countless times on websites, linked your social media accounts with it publicly, and so on. While all this sounds innocent, which it should be, this is how scammers get in.
Scamming is a prime way of making money for these people and because of this, the research that they do on you will not be half-hearted. Emails will be tailored to look non-threatening and fake templates can be created that makes them look legit — this will include brand colours, logos and even an email that is almost identical to the real company’s official address.
If this does occur and you believe an email to be a scam, remember that you shouldn’t open up any links as they could be a potential virus. If you are asked to give any further details, don’t do that either.
It’s always best to contact the company offline through their main central number. Alternatively, you can visit their official website and query the email through that channel.
One of the most common types of scamming is one that we have all experienced at some point when answering the door. Door-to-door selling has become the norm for many of us, and it shouldn’t be.
Despite how quickly you want to get rid of them, it’s important to identify that whoever is asking you to part with your wallet is legit – this applies to charity representatives or a business of interest.
‘It is as easy as closing the door – they can no longer carry on the scam without you’
This form of scamming can be extremely persuasive. It’s vital to know that their aim is to trick you and say whatever they can to make you feel forced into learning more about the product or service that you probably don’t even want or need.
For scams on your own turf, here are some ways to avoid becoming a victim. Ultimately, you have the power. The sales representative will initiate conversation however if you know that you aren’t interested, end the interaction before they can begin persuading you otherwise.
Remain polite but firm. It is as easy as closing the door – they can no longer carry on the scam without you.
Asking for their personal or business credentials is always an option. This should include a permanent business address and landline telephone number.
According to Action Fraud, the mobile phone numbers provided are usually pay-as-you-go and are impossible to trace — which isn’t a good thing in the event of becoming subject to a scam.
As well as asking for their details, don’t be afraid to ask further questions and put them on the spot. Inform them that you will be shopping around before making any sort of agreements. Did you know that it is recommended that you have three written quotes to see the variation of prices for the same service?
You may think that telephone scams are not that popular but that isn’t the case. Fake ‘HMRC’ phone scams have surged by 360% with the firm stating that it received more than 60,000 scam reports in the six months leading up to January 2019. It is important to remain wary of any unexpected landline and mobile calls especially those that ask personal questions that could be later used to build up a profile around your life.
‘Fake ‘HMRC’ phone scams have surged by 360%’
Again, the scammers are acting a part. For example, if they’re pretending to be from your bank then expect them to speak professionally.
Bank scams tend to be the most common and can be convincing, they will often tell you that there is a problem with your account and that your money is at risk.
For obvious reasons, this creates panic and you’ll assume that whoever’s calling is trying to help you. They’ll then ask for your bank details, which most importantly your bank would never do.
To make sure and identify whether it is your bank, end the conversation and call them back yourself on your bank’s central line.
Potential unfamiliar companies that may call you can include fake computer repair firms telling you that you have a virus and compensation experts who claim you’re owed money.
This only touches the surface, so make sure you’re prepared for all circumstances!
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