The Alzheimer’s Society Empowerment Group recently attended a very informative discussion on some of the ways in which any of us may become the victims of scamming and tips on how we may protect ourselves from being scammed.
We heard that between £5 and £10 billion is lost in the UK in scams each year, yet only 5% of incidents are ever reported!
Some examples of scams:
- Picking up the phone and no-one appears to be on the other end - Scammers use automated dialling to several phone numbers, and they wait until a number is picked up and this enables them to identify genuine numbers. The scammer may then ask you for information or to confirm information they say that they have about you. They may have obtained information from a ‘Victims’ List’ which contains a list of names and contact details which is sold to other scammers. One of these lists had over 500,000 names on it. Scammers often target people over a period of weeks in order to build a relationship with their victims. If you receive calls purporting to be from your bank, refuse to give any information, end the call and call your bank. Ensure you clear the line after receiving a suspect call by ringing a friend, relative or familiar number first. Better still, don’t answer calls if you don’t recognise the number and remember that your bank would never ask you for your bank PIN number or to transfer your money.
- Courier Fraud - This is when a scammer will call you, pretending to be a bank official and say that your account is at risk. They say they will send a courier to your home to collect your bank card, jewellery/other valuables for safekeeping.
- Internet Fraud -
- Scammers often befriend their victims in online chatrooms (romance and dating fraud).- In a scam involving Amazon Prime, the scammer tricks their victim into clicking an online link to update an order – which then gets redirected to an external site controlled by the scammer.- Another common scam informs people that they are entitled to a refund from the Inland Revenue
Cold Callers/Rogue Traders - Discourage uninvited callers/traders by obtaining a ‘We do not buy or sell at this door’ sticker from your local council or Thames Valley Police.
- Don’t disclose any of your security details and never give your bank card or PIN number to anyone
- Think about who you give any personal information to and for what reason
- Don’t assume anyone is genuine
- Don’t be rushed into making any decision
- Too good to be true? It probably is
- Stay in control and state you need time to think about things
- If told not to tell anyone else/keep it a secret, make sure you tell someone
- If ordering items online, try and do so on 3G or 4G rather than using Wi-fi, which can be hacked
- Closely check web addresses – on HTTPS web addresses, clicking on the padlock symbol enables you to see the website behind it.
- Install a phone blocker on your telephone line (also on your mobile phone), e.g., Truecall Call Blocker
- Consider not using online banking
- Google the phone number of an unknown caller
- Do not upload images you don’t want to go on social media – your image can be rotated to create a new identity
- Make any online payments using PayPal or credit card rather than debit card as they can be refunded
- There are opt-out options on the full Electoral Register (scammers obtain information from electoral registers and obituaries, for example)
- Obtain a wallet for your contactless bank cards, e.g., a Faraday Wallet, which blocks any signals from connecting with your card
- You can’t win a lottery that you haven’t entered!
- The Post Office can intervene if it is evident that a large quantity of post is being delivered to someone
- Report all fraud and cyber-crime to the police online at: www.actionfraud.police.uk or by telephone on: 0300 123 2040
- For more information, see the Take 5 to Stop Fraud website at: www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk
If you suspect someone is after your money, take five and confidently challenge them with this simple phrase:
‘My money? My info? I don’t think so!’