Top tips on the latest scams this summer
Scams have been on the rise in recent years and as these scams become more sophisticated, it’s never been more important to be aware of the warning signs. Here are some top tips to keep safe from scammers this summer.
People lost an average of £787 on holiday scams last year*. It may be tempting to book that cheap holiday, but there is a chance that it could be fake. Fraudsters use websites to trick you into booking rentals that don’t exist. Book with a trusted company, check the site is genuine and always book with a company that’s ABTA or ATOL protected.
People lost an average of £168 on ticket scams last year*. It’s important to only buy tickets from the venue, promoter or well-known ticket site that is registered with STAR. Always check the site’s terms and conditions and remember, fraudsters tend to use social media or trading websites to sell fake tickets. Genuine tickets have safe ways to pay, pay by credit or debit card for extra protection.
Online Shopping Scams
There has been an increase in people getting scammed buying cars online. Always check before you buy – when purchasing something expensive, like a car, don’t pay until you’ve checked it in person.
If it’s too good to be true, it’s usually a scam. If you find an amazing deal online, lower than other sellers, be wary. Check independent reviews – customer feedback could tell you if a seller is genuine or not. Don’t pay until you have the seller hands it over – if the item is large and expensive, don’t pay upfront. Be wary if someone asks you to pay directly to a bank account – it’s like handing over cash. Pay by credit or debit card for extra protection.
Suspicious texts and phone calls
There are 3 rules to remember if you have received a suspicious text message.
- Stop – The text could be a scam. Read carefully for any details that don’t seem right.
- Don’t click / hang up – don’t click on any of the links or give out any personal or bank details by text or over the phone.
- Report – Report any suspicious texts to 7726 and any suspicious calls to https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/identity-fraud-andidentity. Make your friends and family aware too.
- Never share your full password or your access details with anyone.
- Ensure you use unique, strong passwords for all your online accounts such as emails and banking. Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols.
- Add two-step verification to your accounts.
- Add two-step verification to your personal email accounts such as Gmail or Hotmail.
- Check the email address of the sender before you reply – it may be very close but not correct.
- Only open email attachments that you are expecting and never click on links that look suspicious – if you hover your cursor over the link, you will see the URL of the website it will take you to so you can check if the details are correct.
- Do not provide personal details unless you have checked-out whoever is asking.
- Beware of phishing scams trying to gain snippets of your personal data in order to build a “bigger picture” of you.
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
- Check the content of your email account regularly – fraudsters may create hidden folders to hide fraudulent activity. Check and clear your spam folder regularly.
- Be wary of your environment when accessing your account. Make sure no one can see your screen and limit use in public places, or anywhere that Wi-Fi is not secure.
- Log out and close down sessions securely.
Identity theft is very serious and is the reason security is so important. Always check your online accounts and email notifications regularly so you can flag anomalies quickly. Keep your personal valuable documents in a safe and secure place and discard paper correspondence carefully using, for example, a shredding machine. Remove any data from all devices that you pass on or throw away. Run a credit check report to see if any credit or loans have been applied for in your name. Make sure to inform your bank if anything is out of the ordinary as most fraudsters will target your bank accounts. Your bank will be responsible for investigating this and reporting it to the police. Refer to action fraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/identity-fraud-andidentity
At Wells Gibson, we take fraud and cybercrime seriously. We hope you never experience any of the above circumstances but hopefully, these tips will help you prevent any fraudulent activity.
*All figures and statistics quotes are sourced from Lloyds Banking Group fraud insights data, correct as of March 2023.