Fraud is on the increase and fraudsters are getting cleverer about it! Thankfully, the police have offered the following advice to help you to avoid those sticky and scary situations.
1. Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or online banking password
Banks and other trusted organisations will never ask you for your private security details in an email, on the phone, by text or even in writing through mail.
Always check what is being asked for and why they need it, but don't disclose information with them unless you are absolutely 100% sure who it is you are talking to.
2. Don't assume an email or phone call is authentic
Be cautious of who you trust. This might sound sad to mistrust everybody, but unfortunately it is the world we live in today. I don't want you to not trust anybody, but just to use a little logic and to make sure you know exactly who it is at the other end. Especially with email, check the email address that was used to send to you and also check there are no other BCC or CC email addresses and NEVER press Reply To All unless you are sure who you are sending to. In emails, don't just click a link in an email with checking the URL it is pointing to.
You can check this in many email tools by simply hovering your mouse over the link, you should see the url it is pointing to in the bottom of the screen. Unless you are sure of where it is taking you to, do not click it. This is one of the easiest ways a fraudster can get to you.
3. Don't be rushed or pressured into making a decision
Under no circumstances would a bank or organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot and they would never ask you to transfer money to another account.
4. Listen to your instincts
If something doesn't feel right, it is usually right to question it. The fraudster may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.
5. Stay in control
Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information. It might not come natural to you, but you will actually feel the better for it afterwards and it is always OK
to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it!
6. Use social media with care
Enjoy your time on social media, afterall, it can be fun to share. Just be careful what you do share and to whom. The more information people know about you, the more information they have to cause you problems. Remember also, if you post images of you out and about and shout about it, it can also be telling people that you are not at home. Just a thought!
What can you do if you think you're a victim?
If you think there has been fraud on your card or bank account, or you suspect your financial details have been compromised in some way, you can report it immediately to your bank and contact
Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website at actionfraud.police.uk