According to reports, the first six months of 2019 witnessed a sharp rise in financial scams. The UK alone was hit by over 40 percent increase in financial scams, with a majority being authorised push payment (APP) frauds.
These frauds resulted in over £ 354.3 million being lost in the year 2018, with over 84 thousand victims. Typically, APP frauds involve tricking the target into transferring money into a bank account, to which the scammer has access. However, with the below-mentioned expert tips, you would be able to identify scammers and avoid being a victim. Let us now discuss some of the most common APP frauds and how you can detect them.
Scams One of the most creative tactics that scammers are currently using in the UK, is to call up sick people and trick them into transferring money or divulging sensitive financial information by claiming to be from the National Health Service (NHS). These scammers even spoof the NHS phone numbers which make victims believe that they are genuine officials. Once you fall into their trap, they ask for a ‘small fee’ or your financial details. Recently, an 80 year old victim ended up sharing her bank details and subsequently lost around £5000 within 36 hours. Always remember that in most cases, the NHS does not charge the patients and you can be sure that it does not seek financial details over phone calls or emails.
Tips to detect NHS Scams
- The very fact that you received a call from someone pretending to be an NHS official must tell you that it’s a scammer.
- The scammer tries to sell you a fake NHS product. Always remember that NHS does not sell anything.
- NHS officials seldom call patients and never seek any financial or personal details, nor do they ask for your address to meet you personally. If any of that happens, you can be sure that it was a scammer pretending to be an NHS official.
HMRC Scams or Tax Scams
Tax refunds sound exciting and a call from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in that regard, is almost always welcome. However, what you must be aware of is that the HMRC or any other tax department does not call or text citizens with such details. At least, the HMRC does not and therefore you must avoid sharing any details or clicking on any links sent to you by those pretending to represent HMRC.
Tips to detect HMRC Scams or Tax Scams
- If an HMRC representative calls or texts you and asks for your personal or financial details, then you can be sure that it’s a scammer trying to trick you.
- HMRC never contacts through WhatsApp, but scammers do.
- HMRC never asks for the tax payer’s financial and contact details over text, phone or email.
- You receive a text message or a PDF with a link in it, requiring you to open it in order to avail of a tax refund or a tax rebate. Note that the HMRC does not send any links and you must avoid clicking on it as this could be a phishing site.
- Check the domain name of the email id from which you received an e-mail. Consider forwarding suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and deleting them, but without clicking on any links or downloading any documents.
The victims of romance scams are usually the elderly folks or those who are lonely. The scammer often convinces the victim that he or she is in a virtual relationship and converses regularly. After a certain period of time, when the scammer is convinced that he has earned the victim’s trust, these fake lovers seek financial aid. Although this may seem silly to some, the UK has lost over £ 12.6 million due to romance scams, in 2018.
Tips to detect Romance Scams
- Online profiles are seldom genuine, so don’t trust your online lover blindly.
- Do not entertain requests for monies from people you haven’t met in-person. A financial scam might involve a direct plea for money transfer under false and misleading pretexts or an indirect attempt to force or trick the target into divulging sensitive financial details. Although financial frauds can take various forms, but the ultimate goal of the scammer remains the same — to rob the target.
- Always remember that Banks and Financial Institutions never ask for your personal or financial details over phone, text or emails. That’s because financial institutions are governed by certain regulations such as the KYC norms which requires them to collect all the necessary details as part of the account opening process. We recommend that you read this to know more about financial frauds and how to detect them.