Digital technology is an essential part of everyday life. But the rise of changing technology and people doing more online, is met with a rise of cyber criminals developing clever ways to get you to part with your money or personal information.
Fraud, what is it?
The police and crime commissioner reported that fraud is now the most common crime in England, costing the UK £137bn a year. Fraud takes place when someone is wrongfully or criminally deceived for financial or personal gain. Being a victim of fraud is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about but it is extremely important to report it when it happens.
You can report fraud or cyber crime to Action Fraud at any time using their simple online reporting tool or by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (textphone 0300 123 2050). If you’re going through a cyber-attack currently, contact the police immediately using 101.
There are three types of fraud that are increasingly getting more common, these are known as smishing, vishing, and phishing.
Smishing is a form of fraud that is done via text messaging. The victim will receive an unexpected text message that may look like it’s from a genuine company, directing them to click a link. The link will take you to a website where the fraudster will try to get you to:
- Pay money
- Call a premium rate number to speak with “a member of staff ” who may be pretending to be your bank
- Give away your personal and financial information
If you come across this type of scam, do not click any links, do not reply and delete the text message.
Vishing is a form of telephone fraud. The fraudster will call, often impersonating trusted organisations such as banks, and will:
- Ask for your security details to seem legitimate
- Ask you to clarify your personal details such as your name, date of birth, national insurance number, and address
- Ask you to transfer your money into a “safe” account
It’s important to remember your bank will never ask for your bank details or to move money into accounts over the phone. Also telephone numbers can be “spoofed” which will make the number look like it is your bank calling. If you’re ever unsure that the call is legitimate end the call immediately and ring your bank on the number that is on the top of your card who will be able to verify the call.
Phishing is the name of a form of email fraud. This is where criminals and fraudsters send you scam emails that will try to get you to:
- Click on an “important” link
- Give away personal details and information (such as name, address, and national insurance number)
- Open an attachment
- Make a payment by following an email link
The aim of phishing for criminals is to get you to click the attached link which then may download virus software onto your computer. This will then steal your bank details and other personal information.
How can I stay protected?
Here are a few steps to keep yourself safe and protected from fraud:
- If you’ve unfortunately been a victim you should always report it to: actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040
- Most of the major mobile phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report a scam text. Forward the scam text for free to 7726, your mobile provider will then investigate the origin of the text.
- Report scam emails to email@example.com . It’s important to send all suspicious emails even if you are not certain that they’re a scam
- Ensuring you have up-to-date antivirus software on your computer and mobile can help keep you protected from cyber attacks
- Always remember that using your credit card to make online purchases will give you extra protection when shopping online