Know the Risks of Online Fraud

Know the Risks of Online Fraud

According to statistics, there were 2 million cases of cyber-crime last year alone, resulting in millions of pounds lost by unsuspecting victims.

Below we have outlined three of the most common types of cyber-crime that criminals may adopt, and what you can do to prevent this happening to you.

Phishing

What is it?  Phishing and smishing are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out personal information such as your bank account details, passwords and credit card numbers. This can be online, phone or by text message that poses as a company that you can recognise.

What do I do to avoid this?

  • Don’t assume anyone who has sent you an email or text message is who they say they are.
  • If someone asks you for your password via email or text – don’t give it to them – real banks and organisations will never email you for your passwords.
  • If in doubt, check it’s genuine by ringing and asking the company itself.

Spotting the signs

  • There may be spelling or grammar mistakes or the quality of the language could be poor.
  • They know your email address but not your name.
  • The website or email address doesn’t look right. Authentic website addresses are usually short – businesses and organisations don’t use web based addresses such as Gmail or Yahoo.

 

Identity Theft

What is it? This is when someone has enough information about someone’s identity (which could be as simple as their name, date of birth and address) to commit fraud. If you’re a victim of identity theft it could have a direct impact on your personal finances.

Fraudsters can use your identity to:

  • Open bank accounts
  • Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits
  • Order items in your name
  • Take over your existing bank accounts
  • Take out mobile phone contracts
  • Obtain your personal documents

What do I do to avoid this?

  • Don’t throw anything with your personal details away without shredding it first
  • If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank, never reveal any of your personal details as they will already have this information.
  • If you are concerned about the source of a call, wait five minutes and call your bank from a different phone.
  • Check your statements carefully and report anything suspicious to your bank.
  • Don’t leave things like bills lying about for anyone else to see.
  • If you move home then ask for Royal Mail to redirect your post for at least a year.

Spotting the signs

  • You can see suspicious activity on your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t receive your bills.
  • Your card is suddenly declined for an unknown reason.
  • Your bank may call you to report explain there has been unrecognised activity on your account.

 

Romance Fraud

What is it? When you think you may have met the perfect partner through an online dating website, app or social media but the other person is using a fake profile to form a relationship with you. This will then be used to gain your trust and ask you for money or enough personal information to steal your identity.

What do I do to avoid this?

  • Avoid giving away too much personal information when dating online. Revealing just your name, date of birth and address is enough information for someone to steal your identity.
  • Never send or receive money or give away your bank details to someone you’ve only met online – no matter how much you trust them or believe their story.
  • Pick a reputable dating website and use the site’s messaging service. Fraudsters want to quickly switch to social media or texting so there’s no evidence of them asking you for money

Spotting the signs

  • You’ve struck up a relationship with someone online and they are asking lots of personal information about you but not interested in telling you much about themselves.
  • They invent a reason to ask for your help, using an emotional attachment you’ve built with them. Your relationship with the person will often depend on you sending you money.
  • Their pictures may be suspicious or almost too perfect.
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