The cost-of-living crisis hitting the UK and most of the world, has resulted in a rise in scammers preying on the public, and using this as an opportunity to make some money. Research from Citizens Advice has found that more than three quarters of UK adults have been targeted by a scammer, this is a 14% rise compared to last year. From scammers offering bogus £400 energy rebates, to push payment scams masquerading as banks, it goes without saying we all have to be on our guard.
Scammers are clever, they know how to talk the talk and can be convincing in their manner to lure you into a false sense of security. We’ve put together a helpful guide so you can stay one step ahead. If in doubt, follow your gut instinct and don’t be afraid to say no. Always carefully consider what you have been approached with.
What you need to know about scammers
- They are excellent actors and will play on your emotions to get you on side and convey a sense of urgency.
- They will normally target you with a problem or a prize.
- They will try to detour you away from the original communication source. Eg. If it’s a social media account or WhatsApp, they might try to get your mobile or email details or get you to click on an external link.
- They can be secretive and ask you ‘not to tell anyone’.
- They may ask for a different method of payment. Eg. A Money transfer like Western Union, pay money onto a gift card or iTunes vouchers.
Buster’s 5 tips to stay safe …
- Ask a friend first. If you receive any suspicious, unexpected communication by text, email or via a phone call, don’t react immediately. Get a second opinion from a friend, relative or neighbour.
- Don’t click on any links or respond to the suspicious message. It’s very tempting to quickly click on a link out of curiosity. Firstly, take a look at the wording of the URL – does it look legitimate? Are there any misspellings? A padlock on the URL does not always guarantee a website is the real deal. Check the official website and compare.
- If in doubt, just delete the message or hang up. Do your own research and independently call the company in question.
- It’s important to know that organisations like your bank, the DVLA or HMRC will never phone asking you to transfer money or threaten fines or jail for non-compliance. Hang up on callers being aggressive or pushy. Phone numbers can be cloned to appear genuine so do not assume it’s legitimate.
- Tell someone about the scam. It’s important to spread the word and make others aware that it is circulating. Report the suspicious communication to the company who are being targeted and if necessary, the police and Action Fraud.
Share your story…
If you are sadly caught out by a scam, please consider sharing your story so others don’t get conned. Whilst it’s natural to feel embarrassed, this is what scammers count on. By spreading the word about your experience you’ll help create awareness about scams and help others stay safe from this vicious activity.
Call the police on 101 if you have transferred money to a scammer.
All types of scams can be reported to Action Fraud here.
Bella loves nothing better to get her friends organised and essentially keeps everybody in line for Buster. Bella also curates the blog. She loves belly rubs and getting snug under a nice warm duvet.