Fraud is on the rise. Just last year, banks warned of an epidemic of fraud, primarily from authorised push payment scams. And in 2021/22, Social Market Foundation statisticsfound that fraud accounted for 15% of all crime, up from 13% in 2016/17.
Protecting yourself and your finances from fraud is crucial if you want to protect your hard-earned cash and achieve your financial goals. To help, we’ve listed four of the most common ways scammers profit off your money and identityso you can identify them and stay safe.
Unsolicited requests for personal information
Scammers will try lots of approaches to try and get you to send them your personal information. Things like unsolicited calls and texts asking for details, often posing as an authoritative body such as a bank or HMRC. With your personal information, scammers might be able to hack into things like your savings account and access the funds held within.
Legitimate businesses will never request your information in an unsolicited way. If you’re unsure, hang up and get in touch with the organisation via their official number.
Offers that seem too good to be true
One common way scammers can get hold of personal information is by playing on our emotions – excitement and greed in particular.
With this type of scam, criminals will try and hook you in by telling you you’ve won a prize or can buy something typically expensive for very cheap. You send them some details to get the ball rolling, and they promptly disappear with your personal information in tow.
Often, scammers will contact you via email to try and get your details via an activity known as phishing. A good way to identify phishing emails is to look for whether the email is asking you to perform an action immediately, has bad grammar, email addresses using lots of random characters, and suspicious links – hover over any like with your cursor to be certain it’s not bogus before you click.
Push payment scams
One of the more common types of scams at the moment is that of the authorised pushed payment scam. Here, criminals intercept legitimate invoices and manipulate them to convince you to send the payment to a bogus account controlled by the scammer. With this scam, it’s important to check the details of invoices are legitimate, getting in contact with the invoice issuer to triple-check the payment details.
With these tips you should be able to protect yourself from fraud – just be sure to stay diligent and wary to keep your money out of the hands of criminals. Have you ever been hit by a financial scam? What tips do you have for other readers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.