The UK experiences something of a fraud epidemic if the latest figures are something to follow.
Bank scam victims lost £ 207.5 million in the first six months of this year, as a total of 57,549 cases of & # 39; authorized push payment scam & # 39; – transferring the victim to transfer from his accounts to the fraudster – were registered by banks,
That is an increase of 69 percent compared to the same period in 2018, according to trade organization UK Finance. But only £ 39.3 million was repaid, with banks blaming victims for approving the payments.
Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in convincing people to transfer their money. But a lot of scams follow similar patterns, which means that in most initial contacts of fraudsters there are clear signals.
Here we break some of the most common types of scams and the messages that precede them, so you know what to look out for.
Don't pick up the phone: text messages or calls from people who claim to be HMRC, Thomas Cook, your energy supplier or your bank can easily be a scam
This is when fraudsters claim to come from a financial organization by simulating correspondence, such as a real contact number.
This often takes the form of a question about a suspicious transaction, telling the purpose & # 39; fraud prevention & # 39; to name. Because the number of the bank or of another company has been successfully forged, these texts often look like they come from a legitimate bank number.
Because this is something that banks actually do, as we reported in the case of a Metro Bank customer who lost £ 10,000 to begging crooks, victims often fall for the bluff.
Text & # 39; and via text often come from the counterfeit number of your real bank and usually ask for a suspicious purchase
When you call the number, fraudsters try to guide you through the security.
In the case that we reported, the victim was taken by security and asked to provide characters of his password and 12-digit security number, with the & # 39; bank & # 39; told them they would cancel his card and send him a text message with a code authorizing that cancellation.
Instead, the fraudsters appointed new beneficiaries to transfer money from his account.
HMRC in particular has tried to limit the practice of number spoofing, but it is still in abundance because it is relatively easy to do.
Two direct checks that you can perform are by checking if the number you need to call matches the number on the back of your card and then check your online balance to see your & # 39; available balance & # 39; to view and see if it is minus the amount that someone supposedly just spent on your card.
If it is a fake message, you can use a 7726 service or 87726 if you use Vodafone to forward messages to telecom companies so that they can block them. Most banks also have phishing e-mail addresses where you can report this scam.
False HMRC tax credits
Everyone likes a tax refund, right? Well, fraudsters know that too.
Victims are lured with the promise of a tax refund, usually delivered by e-mail.
Last year, more than 620,000 tax-related email scams were reported to HMRC, and students have increasingly become the target, despite the fact that most people have never paid taxes because they do not earn enough.
An example of a fake tax refund email received by a former University of Kent
HMRC only warned last week of a new wave of tax fraud aimed at new university students. Often these fake emails with & # 39; .ac.uk & # 39; at the end of it, although this is not always the case.
Whether you are at the university or not, the advice is the same. HMRC does not just send you an e-mail to notify you of a tax refund.
And they would certainly not send you an email with a link & # 39; start claim & # 39; or a password-protected PDF document that encourages you to hand over your bank details.
You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com and fake texts to 60599.
Another example of fraudulent email
Scam emails for reimbursement
Money Mail reported this week on how a British gas customer received a phishing e-mail stating that they should receive a £ 467 refund. Paul Henthorne, who received the email, described it as & # 39; one of the best phishing emails I think I've seen & # 39 ;.
Fraudsters are increasingly adept at copying company email formats and stealing their logos, and using them to scam consumers with phishing emails.
A British gas customer received a phishing e-mail claiming to have come from the energy supplier
Given the news this week, you should also look for scammers who offer refunds for Thomas Cook flights or vacations in an effort to get your card details.
It was claimed that he was eligible for a refund of £ 467 due to overpaying, and the email used the right logo and fonts
Utility companies like British Gas usually write to inform you that you are waiting for a refund, although with the emergence of smaller web-based suppliers more companies use messages to contact customers, so it is understandable that people are attracted.
Although these emails are usually very advanced, there may still be some giveaways. Sometimes they send the e-mail to your e-mail address instead of your name.
Again, if you are unsure of anything, go to a company's website and search for their phishing address to forward the email or call them. If it turns out to be legitimate, no damage has been done.
Fake savings products
People get best buy savings and Isa rates from fraudsters who pose as legitimate financial institutions.
Readers have been offered four percent fixed-rate bonds from & # 39; JP Morgan Chase & # 39; and the best buy-savings rates from the alleged asset manager of the Dutch bank ABN Amro. In both cases, the paperwork seemed authoritative, with the logos of the legitimate institutions and details, including an FCA registration number in the latter's case.
The scam of ABN Amro was particularly smart, because although they claimed to offer rates that beat rivals, they were not so good to arouse suspicion right away.
A This is Money reader was called directly by people who would be from the Dutch bank ABN Amro and offer cash Isa & # 39; s with great rates
A savings rate with a fixed interest rate of one year, for example of three percent, at a time when the top rate was 2.1 percent.
Apart from the fact that banks do not usually provide you with savings products by e-mail, there are a few other things you can do to check.
Go to the institution's website and view the relevant product pages – if the account or bond exists, it will be there somewhere.
If the company's paperwork contains an FCA registration number, go to the FCA register and enter that number to see if it matches.
The authoritative documents contain detailed terms and conditions and even an FCA registration number – although the telephone number was not from ABN and the registration number was linked to the Luxembourg subsidiary, which was sold to BNP Paribas last year
In the case of the ABN Amro scam, the registration number on the documents took you to the bank's Luxembourg branch, which was sold to BNP Paribas last year. The name ABN Amro Asset Management did not occur anywhere.
Or find the actual number of the bank in question and ask to contact their fraud team to see if they are aware of something like that or if the promotion in question is true.
& # 39; Get rich quick & # 39; scams via social media
One scam reported to digital bank Mozno showed a stack of £ 20 notes with a message asking interested users to contact
Instagram is all about the fear of missing, so get rich online scams that try to seduce people with showing riches.
They can take many forms, from cryptocurrency investments to forex trading, but usually they follow a similar template. Users interested in earning money are encouraged to send a scammer a message in return for a quick return.
In February, the Fraud Reporting Website Action Fraud released a report that appeared between October 2018 and February 2019 that it had received 356 reports from the Instagram scam where victims lost a collective £ 3.16 million.
Paul Carroll from Action Fraud advised users never to respond to requests to send money to someone you don't know and to ask for the name of the company you are asked to invest in and compare it to the FCA register.
And of course, if something sounds too good to be true, especially if it is covered in jargon that you do not understand, it is almost certainly true.
Money mules are recruited with promises to easily make money in exchange for simply accepting deposits into their bank account and then forwarding them to somewhere else.
The victim will effectively launder money.
The money is usually deceived by someone else, perhaps in one of the scams mentioned above, and because you help an offender, you can be prosecuted.
Younger users of social media are often recruited as money mules with the prospect of making money easily
The number of money mules, according to fraud reporting service Cifas, increased by 26 percent last year to 40,139, of which nearly half were under the age of 25. According to figures released by Barclays, the number of young people under 21 increased to just over 6,000 between 2016 and 2018.
As fast get scams, young people are often recruited on social media or message apps and are full of images of wealth.
Cifas said: “Many of these pages include images or videos designed to lure potential mules by showing individuals who have a lot of money, high-end trainers, or other luxuries. show items. & # 39;
Beware of hashtags on social media such as #Moneyflipsuk, #legitmoneyflips, #PayPalFlip and #EasyMoney, vacancies for & # 39; money transfer agents & # 39; or & # 39; local processors & # 39; and requests for reimbursement after especially & # 39; wrong payments & # 39 ;, as this could all be money laundering.
And of course never take money from people you don't know.
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