16 Aug 2018

Are you scam aware?

Do you know the difference between phishing and vishing? Would you be able to recognise a courier scam or an advance fee scam? How about spotting dodgy investment schemes or Microsoft scams?

Scams catch people out in the UK every day – in fact more than three million people fall victim to scams every year, sometimes losing hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Here’s a look at some of the more common scams, with examples of what they are:

Phishing – an email apparently from the receiver’s bank arrives requesting them to update, validate or confirm details. It’s designed to trick people into revealing personal information and passwords so that scammers can access their account.

Vishing – the criminal practice of obtaining personal or financial information over the telephone.

Online shopping and auction scams – shoppers are lured into buying phantom goods on the internet through a range of tricks including bogus websites, spoofed payment services and second chance offers. This type of scam is the most common and in 2013 caused a total consumer loss of £63.6 million.

Courier scam – where people receive unsolicited phone calls from scammers posing as police or their bank warning of fraudulent payment on their card or that their card is due to expire. The fraudster will then attend the person’s address or send an innocent courier company driver to collect the card and sometimes provide them with a ‘replacement’ fake card.

Microsoft scams – fraudsters often use the names of well-known companies to commit their crime as it gives a mask of legitimacy to their schemes. The Microsoft scam is probably the best known; methods include asking for credit card details to validate copies of Windows, stealing personal information, installing malware and charging to remove it.

Advance fee scams – scammers get people to send money for a range of dodgy or non-existent goods and services, or to collect lottery ‘winnings’.

Keep an eye out on www.actionfraud.police.uk for regular updates about emerging scams.