Scamming has had a place in our society for thousands of years, but only now is it becoming an everyday issue that some of the most vulnerable members of our society have to deal with. Scams are estimated to cost Brits £10 billion each year, but only 5% are reported to the police.
This low figure is often the result of a victim feeling too embarrassed to talk to the authorities about their situation or not knowing that they had been deceived. The Local Government Association (LGA) has previously stated that fraud is the most common type of crime, so we must become more vigilant.
UK Finance reported that the most common type of scams in Britain are purchase scams, where a person believes that they are paying for a legitimate service or product. Between January and June of 2018, purchase scams cost £19.4 million over 21,483 individual cases and investment fraud cost £20.9 million — these are just small areas of the scamming scene that are having profound impacts on wider society.
But what can we do to avoid these scams? Trusted double glazing in Newcastle service David Laing take a look at the different scenarios that you could encounter:
We’ve likely all experienced some door-to-door selling in our lifetime. For many of us, this can be depicted as the norm. Whether it’s a charity representative or a business of interest, it’s important to identify that whoever is asking you to part with your wallet is legit.
Door-to-door scamming can be quite common and is extremely persuasive. It’s crucial to know that these people have been trained to deceive you, identify weak spots and make you feel inclined to learn more about their product or service — even if you don’t need it.
There are a few ways that you can avoid being scammed on your own turf. Once you open the door to the sales representative, they will initiate the conversation with what they are selling. If you’re not interested in the product, leave it there and don’t let them persuade you. Politely tell them that you’re not interested and close the door; you’ve got the power here.
If you are perhaps interested, always ask for both their personal and business credentials. This should include a permanent business address and landline telephone number. Action Fraud say that mobile phone numbers provided are usually pay-as-you-go are impossible to trace — which isn’t a good thing in the event of becoming subject to a scam. Once you’ve followed this advice, don’t be afraid to ask questions and put them on the spot and inform them that you will be shopping around before making any sort of agreements (it’s recommended to have three written quotes to see how prices vary for the same service across different businesses).
Telephone scams are more common than you may think. Fake ‘HMRC’ phone scams have surged by 360% with the firm has stated that it received more than 60,000 scam reports in the six months leading up to January 2019. You should be cautious of any unsolicited landline and mobile calls, especially if they’re asking personal questions that could be later used to build up a profile around your life.
Just like door-to-door scams, the people on the other end of the phone have been trained to act the part. If they’re pretending to be from your bank for example, expect them to speak professionally. Bank scams tend to be the most common and can be convincing, they will often tell you that there is a problem with your account and that your money is at risk. For obvious reasons, this will make you panic and you’ll assume that whoever’s calling is trying to help you. They’ll then ask for your bank details, which your bank would never do.
If you’re familiar with the organisation that is calling you, tell them that you’re going to hang up and call back on their central line just to make sure. However, there will be some companies that call you that you aren’t so familiar with – including fake computer repair firms telling you that you have a virus and compensation experts who claim you’re owed money. Or companies selling you financial products which are not actually suitable for you and not been transparent about all the ins and outs of your purchase. If you have been a victim of financial miss-selling, contact true solicitors, who specialise in these types of claims. This only touches the surface, so make sure you’re prepared for all circumstances!
It’s no secret that cyber security is becoming a greater focus around the world. Research has suggested that we receive over 400,000 phishing emails (scams) every year meaning that everyone should become more vigilant when it comes to their online inbox.
People say that any information that you put online is there forever, and it’s true. Your email address is probably the easiest thing that be obtained by fraudsters. You’ve likely entered it countless times on websites, associated your social media accounts with it publicly, and more. While all this sounds innocent, which it should be, this is how scammers get in.
We must remember that scamming is a lot of fraudsters main source of income. They’ll do their research on you, and they’ll do it well. They’ll have the ability to tailor their emails to something you’re already familiar with and create fake templates that makes them look legit — this will include brand colours, logos and even an email that is extremely similar to the real company’s official address.
If you receive an email that you think might be a scam, make sure that you don’t open up any links as this could potentially be a virus. If they ask you to provide any information, don’t do that either. It’s always best to contact these companies offline through their main central number. If they don’t have one, make sure you visit their official website and send your queries through that channel.