SCAMS OF 2014 AND HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
A new scam is on the rise which targets restaurant owners and their customers, according to the latest data from Financial Fraud Action UK, a payments industry body.
But this scam is just one of many reported each year. We asked the fraud body about other scams on the rise.
Some have been around for a few years with criminals finding these are the most effective - and are therefore increasingly using them. These are the top five with advice on how to protect yourself against being duped on each.
Vishing is a type of fraud which takes place over the phone. Fraudsters call up consumers, and attempt to lure them into giving their bank security details over the phone, including their PIN. The scam typically involves a fraudster suggesting they are from your bank, and that there is a problem on your account. They may also ask you to call your bank to confirm, where in fact they stay on the line and continue their deception. There are variations on this scam where fraudsters deceive the victim into transferring money from their account to one which is accessible to the fraudster.
• Be wary of unsolicited approaches by phone and cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
• Never disclose your four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police, any full password or online banking codes, or personal details unless you are sure who you are talking to.
2. Deception thefts
Losses due to fraud on lost or stolen cards increased by 7pc to £58.9m from £55.2m in 2012, with distraction thefts in shops and bars and shoulder surfing at ATMs highlighted. Shoulder surfing involves a fraudster looking over someone’s shoulder as they enter their PIN at an ATM, and then distract them when the card is ejected, stealing the card in the process. Once they have your card and PIN the fraudster uses them to spend your money.
• Always shield the keypad with your free hand and your body to avoid anyone seeing you enter your PIN. This will protect your PIN from anyone who might be looking over your shoulder, and also help to keep your PIN safe if a fraudster has set up a hidden camera filming the keypad.
• Be alert and put your personal safety first. If someone is crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction and go to another machine. Do not accept help from seemingly well-meaning strangers and never allow yourself to be distracted.
• If you spot anything unusual about the cash machine, or there are signs of tampering, do not use it. Report it to the bank concerned immediately.
• Once you have completed a transaction put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine. Destroy or preferably shred your cash machine receipts, mini-statements or balance enquiries when you dispose of them.
Malware is malicious software which is unknowingly downloaded on to a computer and which then enables fraudsters to steal personal or financial information or perform unauthorised actions on the device. It is believed criminals are using these stolen details to commit fraud by targeting those online retailers which have not yet adopted security measures put in place by more established firms.
• Ensure you have the most up-to-date security software installed on your computer, including antivirus. Some banks offer free security software: check your bank’s website for details.
• Only shop on secure websites. Before entering card details ensure that the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing in your browser.
• Always be suspicious of unsolicited emails that are supposedly from a reputable organisation, such as your bank or the tax office and do not click on any links in the email.
4. Courier fraud
A fraudster rings you, claiming to be from your bank, saying their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your card or that your card is due to expire and needs replacing. You may be asked to ring back using the phone number on the back of your card which further convinces you the call is genuine. However, the criminal keeps the line open at their end so, when you make the call, you are unknowingly connected straight back to the fraudster.
Then, by seeming to offer assistance, the fraudster tries to gain your trust. In most cases you are asked to "cancel" your existing card or "activate" or "authorise" a replacement card by keying your PIN into your phone’s handset. The fraudster then poses as a bank representative to pick up your card from your home, sometimes giving you a replacement card, which is a fake. In some cases a genuine courier company is hired to pick up the card, which the victim has been asked to place into an envelope.
Once they have your card and PIN the fraudster uses them to spend your money.
• Never hand over your card: Your bank or the police will never ring you to tell you they are coming to your home to pick up your card. Never hand it over to anyone who comes to collect it.
• Never share your PIN: Your bank will never ask you to authorise anything by entering your PIN into the telephone. Never share your PIN with anyone.
• Always speak to the bank securely: Before calling your bank, make sure you can hear the dial tone. Only ever call your bank on an advertised number.
5. Money mules
Criminals dupe ordinary people into thinking they are an employer. They may offer jobs, involving receiving money into your bank account and transferring it to another account, and keeping some for yourself. This is money laundering, a criminal activity which can lead to a prison sentence of up to ten years. The jobs may be called "money transfer agents".
• Be very cautious of unsolicited emails promising opportunities to make easy money.
• Verify any company that makes you a job offer and check their contact details (address, landline phone number, email address and website) are correct and whether they are registered in the UK.
• Be especially wary of job offers from people or companies overseas as it will be harder for you to find out if they really are legitimate.
• Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
Skimming is taking route in Kenya.It involves the copyin of ones Credit Card or ATM card when they swipe them during shopping. What the swiper does is to swipe it and then place it somewhere else – where the skimmer is(a device the size of a mobile phone) these device copies all your details and once you are gone the crooks make a duplicate of your card.
- Once your card is swiped let be returned to you immediately
- Do not entertain cashiers talking to you maybe about your country as they keep your card – chances are they are copying.
- Never allow your card to leave your line of sight when a transaction is being done.
- Make a mental note of transactions and keep all receipts for future reference