There’s no denying that scamming in the UK has become more prevalent in our society. It is predicted that scams cost Brits £10 billion each year and yet, only 5% are reported to the police. Being able to confidently avoid scams is now more important than ever.
The low number is likely down to embarrassment associated with being the victim of a scam. The Local Government Association (LGA) has previously stated that fraud is the most common type of crime, so the aim is to increase vigilance and encourage you to not feel humiliated by these fraudsters.
Interestingly, 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.
So, which scams are the most common, and what should we do to avoid them?
The Rise of Email Scams
With more people communicating through email than ever before, scammers have been using this network to pry on vulnerable people. Your online inbox is a place where you should be extra vigilant as it is predicted that we receive over 400,000 phishing emails (scams) every year.
What you put out on the internet is likely to stay there forever, so you must be careful. For fraudsters, email addresses are probably the easiest things to get hold of. You’ve probably entered it countless times on websites, linked your social media accounts with it publicly, and so on. While all this sounds innocent, which it should be, this is how scammers get in.
This is a prevalent way to make money too. Emails will be tailored to look non-threatening and fake templates can be created that makes them look legit — this will include brand colours, logos and even an email that is almost identical to the real company’s official address.
Scam emails often include viruses, so it’s important that you don’t click any links. If you are asked to give any further details, don’t do that either. It’s always best to contact the company offline through their main central number. Alternatively, you can visit their official website and query the email through that channel.
The Rise of Door-To-Door Scams
Door-to-door selling has become the norm for many of us, and it shouldn’t be. Despite how quickly you want to get rid of them, it’s important to identify that whoever is asking you to part with your wallet is legit – this applies to charity representatives or a business of interest.
As you’re talking in person, this way can of scamming can be very persuasive. It’s vital to know that their aim is to trick you and say whatever they can to make you feel forced into learning more about the product or service that you probably don’t even want or need.
We do have some tips which will help you avoid being scammed. Ultimately, you have the power. The sales representative will initiate conversation however if you know that you aren’t interested, end the interaction before they can begin persuading you otherwise. Remain polite but firm. It is as easy as closing the door – they can no longer carry on the scam without you.
You should always look for their business credentials, and if you can’t see them, ask for them. This should include a permanent business address and landline telephone number. According to Action Fraud, the mobile phone numbers provided are usually pay-as-you-go and are impossible to trace — which isn’t a good thing in the event of becoming subject to a scam. As well as asking for their details, don’t be afraid to ask further questions and put them on the spot. Inform them that you will be shopping around before making any sort of agreements. Did you know that it is recommended that you have three written quotes to see the variation of prices for the same service?
The Rise of Telephone Scams
Who uses telephones these days? Well, it turns out scammers do. Fake ‘HMRC’ phone scams have surged by 360% with the firm stating that it received more than 60,000 scam reports in the six months leading up to January 2019. It is important to remain wary of any unexpected landline and mobile calls especially those that ask personal questions that could be later used to build up a profile around your life.
Scammers in other words are actors. For example, if they’re pretending to be from your bank then 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 creates panic and you’ll assume that whoever’s calling is trying to help you. They’ll then ask for your bank details, which most importantly your bank would never do.
If you’re feeling worried about who you are talking to, you’ll need to end the call and call back on the central line. Potential unfamiliar companies that may call you can include fake computer repair firms telling you that you have a virus and compensation experts who claim you’re owed money. This only touches the surface, so make sure you’re prepared for all circumstances!
This article was provided by trusted double glazing in Newcastle service, David Laing.