Top Ten Twinkling Tips to Fight Fraud this Christmas
1. It can be so frustrating trying to find that perfect gift for a tricky someone. But in your search for perfection only use trustworthy and familiar online retailers and brands, and check their delivery and returns policy. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date so your computer can detect any untrustworthy websites.
2. E-cards can be a great way to spread Christmas cheer, but if you receive one from an anonymous sender, play it safe and delete the email. If you believe your device has been infected, disconnect and switch it off. Change your usernames and passwords immediately.
3. Pantomimes and ballets are popular at Christmas, as are music and sporting tickets as gifts. Remember, only buy tickets from secure and reputable websites (the padlock icon confirms a site is safe). Before you purchase your tickets, check reviews to see if anyone has fallen victim to a ticketing scam for the event.
4. The run up to Christmas is a popular time for charities to seek donations. If you want to donate, visit the charity’s website by typing the address into your browser. Before you donate, check the website is secure. The address should start with https:// – The ‘s’ stands for secure. Look for the padlock symbol.
5. Smartphones and tablets now account for the majority of online shopping sales in the UK. This Christmas, do not save personal or financial data, or passwords unless it is essential. Make sure your phone is password protected and do not leave your Bluetooth on.
6. While you’re busy juggling shopping bags and lists, remember to play it safe when using an ATM and stay aware of people trying to look over your shoulder. Always use your hand to cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
7. Always keep your bank cards in a safe place and sign new ones as soon as you receive them. If you are out shopping or in restaurants or bars over the Christmas period, never let someone take your card away to process the transaction.
8. Social media is a great way to interact with friends, colleagues and brands, but be careful not to share too much. Take action and check your privacy settings to make sure only those you want to can see your information.
9. Never share or give out your personal details e.g. account number, PIN, passwords to anyone on the phone, face-to-face, via email or text message. Keep your cards, cheque books and any financial documents in a safe place, or shred anything containing your financial information.
10. Cheques can be a great Christmas gift and an easy way to pay a retailer, but never pre-sign blank cheques. Write clear amounts, leaving no spaces for additions and include the account holders name and/or account number on the payee line. Also, never accept a cheque for more than the agreed amount and agree to refund the overpayment.
Take Five – My Money? My Info? I Don’t Think So:
In 2016, a total of £798.8 million was lost to financial fraud.
Take Five, is encouraging the nation to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.
- Requests to move money: A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you asking for your PIN, full password or to move money to a safe account. Don’t give out personal or financial details.
- Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
- Personal information: Always question uninvited approaches and never give out personal or financial details, in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
TOO SMART TO BE SCAMMED?
Think again. Most people think they wouldn’t fall for a fraudulent text or email, but criminals are more sophisticated than ever. Take this test to see if you can find the fraud and know when it’s time to say ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so’.
FCA ScamSmart Campaign:
During recent months, the FCA have launched a ScamSmart campaign offering investors guidance on how to be more vigilant when it comes to investment opportunities.
In order to be a ScamSmart investor the Financial Conduct Authority advise that you:
- Reject any unsolicited contact about investment opportunities.
- Check the FCA warning list
- Get impartial advice
For more information, please visit: http://scamsmart.fca.org.uk/
- Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full banking password.
- Don’t assume an email, text or phone call is authentic.
- Don’t be rushed – a genuine organisation won’t mind waiting.
- Listen to your instincts – you know if something doesn’t feel right.
- Stay in control – don’t panic and make a decision you’ll regret.
Protect yourself from fraud
Taking care of your cheques, cards, PINs and other security information is essential to help prevent fraud and protect your accounts. We strongly recommend that you follow the do’s and don’ts, listed below.
- Memorise your PIN and destroy the PIN notification promptly after receipt.
- Keep your log on and password to internet banking confidential.
- Only deal with reputable companies when using your card for purchases over the phone or through the internet.
- Keep your cards in your possession and never let them out of your sight.
- Check and keep your card receipts and other information about your account containing personal details safe (for example, statements) and get rid of them carefully.
- Take care when storing or getting rid of information about your accounts. People who commit fraud use many methods such as ‘bin raiding’ to get this type of information. Shred anything containing personal data when you want to throw it away.
- Take care when others close by may be trying to see you enter your PIN.
- Be aware that your post is valuable information in the wrong hands. If you don’t receive a bank statement, card statement or any other expected financial information, contact us.
- Respond to ‘phishing’* emails requesting information (account details, card numbers, PINs or passwords). We will never request information from you by email and it is our policy not to send personal data to you by email.
- Share your PIN with anyone.
- Leave gaps on cheques.
- Keep large sums of cash at home.
*Phishing is an increasingly common type of spam that can lead to theft of your personal details such as credit card numbers or online banking passwords. Phishing attacks work by the scam artist sending “spoof” emails that appear to come from a legitimate website that you have online dealings with. The email may ask you to reply with your account details in order to “update security” or for some other reason.
Phishing is a practice whereby fraudsters send you an email claiming to represent well-known organisations (e.g. a bank or social media site) and request personal information such as your bank details for verification or recording purposes.
Some phishing emails will threaten to delete any accounts you hold with the organisation they claim to represent, in order to scare you into providing the requested information.
Though these threats are very concerning, we advise that you:
- Do not respond to any emails of this nature.
- Limit the amount of personal information you share online.
- Contact the organisation from where the email claims to represent to check if it is genuine.
- Ensure you only enter your bank details on secure networks, signified by a padlock in the top left hand corner of the browser window.
Malware is malicious software designed to interfere with the performance of electronic devices such as computers, tablets or mobile phones.
Your device can become infected with malware viruses if you open links or download software or files from suspicious websites and emails. These viruses can log personal information and passwords that you input onto your infected phone or computer and pass them on to a device controlled by the fraudster.
In order to protect your electronic devices from viruses, we suggest that you:
- Install and keep up-to-date antivirus software on your computer.
- Ensure your Firewall is switched on.
- Avoid opening any links contained in pop-up adverts and irregular emails.
Boiler Room Scams
Boiler room scammers call your home or mobile phone claiming to be from reputable organisations. Using high pressure tactics, they attempt to persuade you to buy a fraudulent investment. These investments are often worthless or have minimal value and are unlikely to appreciate over time.
If you are uncertain about a call of this nature, you should:
- Record the name of the person calling and the firm they claim to represent.
- Check the firm against the FCA Financial Services Register.
- Call the FCA’s consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768 to check whether the salesperson is on the register and has the authority to make investment sales.
- Conduct an independent check by calling the company to confirm the salesperson is genuine and employed by them.
Investing in Fine Wine
Fine wine investment scammers will often call with offers on great deals and not-to-be-missed opportunities. They will send paperwork and sometimes the wine too. Often everything appears normal – until the victim decides to cash in their investment.
It is at this stage the fraudster prolongs the procedure with excuses such as ‘we would advise you to wait three weeks for a better price’ or ‘there is no one buying this wine at the moment’.
The company then suddenly vanishes or goes into liquidation.
Before you commit to an investment, make sure you:
- Are dealing with an honest, reputable business with a successful track record in the trade.
- Know the wine you are buying comes from a reliable origin.
- Understand the small print.
- Don’t fall for hard sales tactics.
Identity fraud is the criminal activity of using a stolen identity to obtain goods or services by deception. Fraudsters start with the most basic information to build a picture of your financial affairs. Once fraudsters have sufficient information they can use your identity to:
- Open bank accounts.
- Take over existing bank accounts.
- Obtain genuine documents.
- Borrow money.
We advise that you:
- Shred documents which feature personal information such as receipts, bank statements etc.
- Password protect your laptop, mobile phone and any other devices. Create strong passwords. Please click here for some guidance: https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/passwords
- Install anti-virus software on your laptop and any other devices. Make sure you keep it up-to-date.
- Take care on public Wi-Fi because fraudsters are able to hack or mimic them. If you are using them, avoid using sensitive apps such as mobile banking.
- Redirect your post if you move address to help prevent your personal details falling into the wrong hands. Action Fraud recommend redirecting your post for 12 months when you move address http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud_protection/identity_fraud
This type of fraud covers instances where fraudsters use stolen credit or debit cards, or the details, to buy goods or services. It is particularly important to be aware of card fraud given the development of contactless payment technology. Those using stolen cards will not need your PIN to process payments in stores with contactless card readers.
We advise that you:
- Memorise your PIN and shield the number pad when entering it at a cash point or retail store.
- Never share your PIN with anyone.
- Always keep your card secure in your wallet or purse.
- Always keep your card within your sight when handing it over to a cashier.
- If your card is retained by a cash machine, contact the owner of the cash machine immediately and notify your bank to cancel the card.
- Counterfeit cheque fraud is where fraudsters create fake cheques using genuine account details.
- Forged cheque fraud is when a genuine cheque has been stolen and used by a fraudster with a forged signature.
- Fraudulently altered cheques are genuine cheques that have been altered by a fraudster before being paid in.
In order to protect yourself against cheque fraud we advise that you:
- Draw a line through all unused space after both the payee name and the amount.
- If you make an error, sign against any corrections or better still, destroy the cheque and write another.
- Never sign a cheque and leave the payee blank.
- Never accept a cheque from someone, unless you know and trust them. Be especially wary when accepting a high–value cheque; for instance if you are selling a car.
Reporting a fraud
If you believe someone has made a fraudulent attempt on your account, copied your card, obtained your PIN or if you need to report a lost or stolen card, please contact us immediately on 020 7012 2500 (available 24 hours).