It's time to get Scam Savy!

Wednesday 6 February, 2019 Money Advice

What is a Scam?

Scams are fraudulent schemes that dupe people into parting with their personal details and/or cash. Scammers are professional criminals, frequently targeting people through email, online banking systems and online transactions, to name a few. Vulnerable people can be espeically at risk from scammers. To find out more about vulnerable clients, and their link with debt, you can read our blog.

Scams can come in many different disguises; we’re all aware of them. I’m sure some will even ring a bell ‘Your long lost uncle has inherited 1 billion and wishes to share his fortune with you’ or how about CONGRATULATIONS!! You’re our lucky lottery winner!’ even though you’ve never bought a lottery ticket in your life.

Although some of these are obvious, many people fall victim to these scams and therefore it is important to know the warning signs to look out for and what to do if you have, or you think you have, been targeted. The Guardian reveals that UK bank customers lost £500 million to scams in the first half of 2018. It’s time to get scam savvy!


Scams in the Media

Martin Lewis, founder of the website ‘Money Saving Expert’ recently drew a large amount of attention to the idea of scamming when his face was used as the forefront of many scams. Martin issued high court proceedings against social media giant, Facebook, for defamation after a year in which over 1000 scam adverts abusing his name or image appeared on their site.

Martin and Facebook have come together in a settlement to help combat scamming. They have agreed that Facebook will donate 3 million to Citizens Advice to deliver a new UK Scams Action project, which will launch in May 2019. On top of this, Facebook will launch a new scam ads reporting took, unique to the UK and a dedicated team to handle these complaints.


Different types of Scams

Some scans are obvious, but some are a lot more intelligent which is why you must be extra careful when providing your details online. Scams often appear as;


Investment scams

This is a type of ‘get rich quick’ scam where the scammer claims to be able to predict something like the outcome of sports or share trading. They will often ask you to pay a fee upfront, often a very expensive one, once you pay this fee you will discover that their claims were false, and this was all a dupe so that you would part with your money.

Tip – Do not let anyone pressure you into making investment decisions, always seek independent financial advice.


Online selling scam

Scammers often post fake advertisements offering non-existent products for low prices, some of the most common online selling scams include holiday offers or tickets for festivals. If the price appears too good to be true, then it most likely is!

Tip – When purchasing anything online you should always try to use secure payment options such as Paypal as you may be able to seek a chargeback from your bank if you lose money in a scam.


Romance scam

Scammers will often approach you on dating websites and over a period of time build a relationship with you. Once this relationship is established they will begin asking you for money.

Tip – Avoid sending money/personal details to someone that you have never met in person


Be wary of…

  • Holiday offers or rented apartments abroad at very low prices
  • Fake festival or gig tickets
  • Confirming bank details by clicking through to a fake website
  • Claiming tax rebates
  • Accident and injury calls via telephone


Tips for staying safe online

Remember;

  • Real bank emails never ask for sensitive information to be confirmed by clicking a link
  • If the price offering seems to good to be true, then it most likely is
  • Look at the website/email address – does it look correct?
  • HMRC never send emails or texts about taxes or payment information


What to do if you have been scammed?

  • If money goes missing from your account, contact your bank immediately
  • If you have already responded to a scam, end all further communication
  • Any spam or fraudulent activity should be reported to Action fraud so appropriate action can be taken, Call 0800 111 6768
  • Only contact the police in the case of any immediate danger or if the crime is about to happen



IVA & Scams

If you are in an IVA with us and are unsure about whether something is legitimate or a scam, we are always on hand to help! Give us a call on 0333 939 7920 or send an enquiry form through our website and someone will be in touch.