Financial scams are on the rise: six ways to spot one

More than five million Britons have fallen victim to a financial scam, research reveals.

One in 10 UK adults say that they have been a victim of some form of a financial scam, according to Lloyds Bank.

Dodgy emails (36%) and phone calls (35%) are the most common ways in which scammers target their victims.

Fraudsters also targeted victims via social media, company websites and text messages.

Despite the figures, four in five (83%) say that they feel confident that they would be able to spot a financial scam, and three-quarters (77%) believe that they are able to keep up with the potential risks around financial scams.

A third (33%) of clued-up Britons reported that they have been targeted by fraudsters but were able to put a stop to it.

The over-65s claimed to be the most confident about spotting a financial scam (87%), compared with those aged 35 to 44 who felt the least confident (76%).

Paul Davis, fraud and financial crime director at Lloyds Bank, says: “We are a vigilant nation, yet it is clear from our research that many of us do still get caught out when it comes to scams.

"Fraudsters have adapted to changing technology by using ever more sophisticated tactics, making them more difficult to spot.

“We’re encouraging people to talk to friends and family about fraud, so that more people are aware of how to identify the telltale signs of a scam. If you suspect you’ve been a target, it’s important to contact your bank immediately.”

How to spot a financial scam

There are a few things that you can do to help stop these types of fraud from happening. Mr Davis has some key tips:

  • Check for spelling mistakes – Get into the habit of checking for minor spelling mistakes in the addresses of the emails you receive. For example: “Lloids Bank” instead of “Lloyds Bank”. 
  • Double check that the sender is real – If you receive an email asking you to make an urgent payment, always double check that the request is real by speaking to them in person, or by calling them on the number that you have saved.
  • Beware of unexpected emails – Be cautious about opening any emails that you weren’t expecting (even if you think you recognise the sender), and don’t click on any links or attachments unless you are sure that they are genuine. Also, watch out for spoof text messages that may look similar to genuine messages you receive from your bank.
  • Use anti-virus software and stay up to date – Always use anti-virus software to protect your devices and ensure that you have downloaded the latest updates for your operating system.
  • Question any requests to share details or move money – Your bank will never ask you to share your account details, such user ID, password and memorable information. You should also be alert if your bank suddenly tells you to move your money or asks you to transfer funds to a new sort code and account number. Contact them immediately if you receive any requests of this nature.
  • Make sure that your internet banking site looks normal – Do not log on or key in codes from your card and reader if any of the website pages look strange or different as this may indicate a virus infection.

This article was first published by our sister magazine Moneywise.

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