Each year, tens of thousands of us become victims of cyber theft. The crooks steal our personal information, either via the internet or over the phone, and take our money.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) recently reported that phone calls make up approximately 57% of consumer scams, the rest being via email or other types of internet contact. Last year, £775 million was stolen from people in the UK via cold calling and online crimes. According to Financial Fraud Action, one in ten of us has fallen victim to cyber theft.
To help you stay protected, we're taking you through two of the most commons scams.
Vishing (phone scam)
Vishing refers to fraudsters who contact you by phone. You may get a phone call from a fraudster posing as a customer service employee from your bank or financial service provider. Here at thinkmoney, we will never phone you up and ask you for your PIN, or for your full passwords or passcodes.
We will take you through security checks to maintain the security of your account, so be mindful of any call you receive claiming it’s from us if they ask you for your full banking details – we will never ask for these. If you’re in any doubt, hang up and call us back on 0161 779 5000.
You can find out more about vishing in our blog.
Phishing (online scams)
Phishing uses similar techniques to steal your identity online. These are emails or texts sent as mass spam to trick victims into clicking links and then giving out their personal information. Some phishing messages are designed to steal your financial details.
They’ll be disguised as subscription offers, upgrades or refunds. For example, the email might claim that you are due a tax rebate – all you need to do is click on the link, and enter the bank details and they will pay you the money.
These emails can look very convincing, but there are always ways to spot them:
• Most genuine emails will address you by name and quote your account number or other details. Fake ones usually don’t but might start with something vague like “Dear Customer”.
• Never click on links in emails – first hover over them to see the URL that they lead to. Check the addresses carefully – for example HMRCTaxRebates.yahoo.com may look like it’s from HMRC, but anybody can set up a website with that format of address.
If you aren’t sure if an email is real, go onto the provider’s main website by typing in an URL that you trust – so don’t go through the email. Call the customer service number on the site and ask them if the email you received is real.
Often, firms will have an email address you can send emails that you are concerned about to and they will let you know if it is real. For example, you can send emails claiming to be from thinkmoney to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out what the top phishing email scams are.