The media is continually covering stories about innocent consumers being caught out by scam calls and phishing emails. Run by serious criminal organisations, these hoaxes are designed to target people to get personal details and steal money. It’s not just the banking sector which is a target, as proved with last year’s security breach at TalkTalk.
Top tip: If you receive a cold call from a company you don’t know, the safest thing to do is to hang up.
If a genuine service provider i.e. a bank, mobile phone or utility company contacts a customer, they will never ask the caller to provide an account number to verify their identity. If you’ve received a call asking to provide your account number, it is highly likely that the call was part of an elaborate scam.
Cold calls about investment opportunities, should also ring alarm bells. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) provide a really useful service where you can search for the investment opportunity that’s been offered to you to check it’s genuine or not. Click here to find out more.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a utility provider or bank etc., never give your personal details. Instead say you’ll call them back – but don’t return their call on the number they provide. Search for the number independently.
Top tip: Question every piece of correspondence you receive. Ask yourself – is this genuine?
Some scam emails are very obvious with the promise of a large inheritance windfall – all you need to do is send them an upfront payment of hundreds of pounds to release the funds. Some emails are much more sophisticated and are designed to look like official correspondence from well known, trusted organisations.
HMRC is often the target of phishing scams – so much so that they’ve created a comprehensive guide to what to look for when you receive any sort of communication from them. Click here to find out more.
Be wary of emails which don’t address you personally, for example “Dear customer” or “Dear Sir/Madam”.
Genuine companies should know who they are sending the email to.
Top tip: Never reply to a suspicious text.
Criminals will try and contact you in any way possible – even through text. PPI, accident compensation and tax rebates are often the subject of scam text messages.
Be wary of text messages which ask you to reply with the word ‘STOP’ to be removed from their database, this is often just a trick to see if you’re a real person and not an unused mobile number Visit This Link. If you receive a spam text, forward it and the sender’s number, to your network provider for FREE, simply by forwarding it to 7726 (spells SPAM).