WHAT IS A SCAM?
A scam is a term that describes any fraudulent business or scheme that takes money, information or other goods from an unsuspecting person.
There are, unfortunately, many types of scams and ways of getting you to accept them. It is impossible to list them all – especially as new ones appear all the time.
HOW TO BEAT THE SCAMS
If something doesn’t look or feel right, always challenge it.
If you receive an unexpected payment request from anyone – even someone who says they are a family member (see below for more details about this type of scam) – get in touch with them, or another family member, and check if it is genuine.]
- Do not be taken in if the scammer knows lots of details about you and your family – personal information is widely available online, especially through social media and it can be bought from other scammers.
- Do not open any e-mail from an unexpected source and especially do not open any attachment or click on any link within the e-mail without checking where it came from first.
- Do not divulge any personal information, including passwords or PIN numbers, if you receive an unexpected phone call purporting to be from a financial institution.
- Always ensure that your passwords or PIN numbers are kept secure and only known to yourself.
VIGILANCE ON YOUR PART IS THE KEY DEFENCE
- Don’t act on any instructions that are given to you without thinking it through first – e.g. who, what, when and why.
Consider asking another family member or friend for their advice/opinion before acting.
Barclays has helpful information and advice relating to all types of scams on their website: https://www.barclays.co.uk/fraud-and-scams
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE FALLEN VICTIM TO A SCAM
Firstly, contact your bank to alert them and see if they can halt the payment, or help in any other way.
Then get in touch with the Government-backed financial-guidance service MONEYHELPER
, to see if they can help you get your money back.
You can reach their Financial Crimes and Scams Unit on 0800 015 4402
AN EXAMPLE OF A SCAM
Scammers pretending to be family
Criminals are now pretending to be members of the family – typically children or grandchildren – and trying to scam parents and grandparents into transferring money to them.
What to watch out for:
It can all start out with a call, a text or a message on social media. Often, it will start with a simple “Hi Gran” - or similar - and it may come from a number you don’t recognise. The “family member” may try to justify this by saying that their phone has been lost or stolen, so they are using a friend’s.
If the scammer is calling and they don’t sound like your family member, they may say that is because they have got a cold, or even that they have broken their nose.
Next, they will ask you for money. This could be because they need to replace a lost or stolen phone, but often it will be to help settle an unpaid bill. Some scammers even pretend that they have been arrested and need help to pay their bail – they may also put their “lawyer” on the call to make the call seem genuine and even more urgent.
The scammers will then provide you with bank account details, so that you can make a payment. If you happen to know your family member’s bank account details and you don’t recognise the ones given to you by the scammer, they will simply say that they have given you the payee’s details so the money can go directly to them.