How to protect yourself against online fraud

Unfortunately, bank crime is on the rise. Recent research has revealed that “almost five million people had money stolen from their bank or credit card account last year” with “more than £2 billion snatched from about one in 10 British adults”. There are many ways that fraudsters can target us, from scam emails to fake phone calls.

Staying vigilant when managing your money is vital in order to minimise your risk of being targeted. Here, we look at certain ways that fraudsters target people and how to avoid falling victim.

Scam emails

Do not believe every email you receive. Scam emails are one of the most common types of online fraud, with fraudsters relying on customers to trust that the email is genuine. Many of them pose as a huge corporation that they know you’ll have dealt with, even including their logo on the email.

The most recent instance of this is the TV Licensing scam. This fraudulent email led to more than 5,000 complaints in three months between the beginning of October and the end of December 2018. Some victims have lost just under £10,000 to this scam.

The key here is to be suspicious of any email like this that you receive. Many of these scam emails have spelling and grammar errors, as well as old or out of date logos.

Never answer emails of this sort or click on the links. Never give out your personal details over email. If in doubt, call the company it may have come from for clarification.

Too-good-to-be-true online deals

The world is turning ever more digital. We are spending more and more time online, which has had a direct impact on the retail industry. The growth of e-commerce has led to 87% of UK shoppers now purchasing items online rather than on the high street. As convenient as it is to shop from the comfort of your couch, the reality is we don’t see who we’re buying from. Fraudsters have taken advantage of this, creating scam shopping sites to trick us out of our hard-earned cash.

Be cautious buying from sites you’ve not used before. Here are some top tips for establishing if a website is legit or not:

  • Check the web address. https:// signifies that it is a secure site. If a website uses http:// it may not be secure.
  • Check the domain name. Scam sites often use scrambled letters or numbers.
  • Check for poor grammar or spelling. Fraudulent sites often have multiple typos.
  • Check for contact information. Most reputable companies will have various methods for contacting them, such as a phone number, email address, online chat, etc. If you don’t see this, don’t proceed.
  • Check the site uses secure payment methods, such as PayPal. If they only offer unsecure payment transfer options, don’t purchase.

The key to protecting yourself from online fraud is to be vigilant. Always proceed with caution, whether you’re shopping online, checking your emails or giving someone your account details. If you’re ever in doubt, walk away or contact your bank.

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