This week's Scam Alert column, brought to you by John Trotter:
Happy New Year everyone. Let’s hope that 2021 is better than 2020.This week I want to draw everyone’s attention to 5 potential banking scams.
This is especially important following on from all that Christmas shopping. But first watch out for Amazon scam phone calls. Monday morning at 8.30am, I had a call from 0121 452 0028 and a voice said that to discuss my order for a i-phone, press 1. Not having ordered an i-phone from Amazon, I ended the call immediately and reported it to Action Fraud .
Then we had another 3 calls within the next 4 hours about refunds. Regarding banking scams, the banking industry is stepping up measures to protect customers, but being aware of the risks to your money is key. Banks have introduced better protections, such as Confirmation of Payee (an account name-checking service) and fraud warnings at the point of payment, but this help often comes too late to ‘break the spell’. So here are the most common and emerging bank scams to watch out for in 2021.
1. Impersonation scams: is it really your bank calling? Scammers will pose as any trusted organisation to win your confidence – your bank, a retailer, utility company, the police or even the government. Number spoofing technology enables scammers to easily clone a bank’s telephone number, meaning you can’t trust the caller ID alone.
2. Remote access software scams: Once they have made contact, a scammer needs to get access to your money. Common tactics include urging you to move money to a ‘safe account’ because yours has been compromised, or asking you to download software to your phone or computer so that they can ‘fix’ a spurious problem. In 2020, the Amazon phone scam mentioned at the start of this week’s column plays out like this: you answer the phone and an automated message invites you to ‘press 1’ to cancel Amazon Prime or dispute a fictional transaction. If you do, you can give the scammers access to you computer or mobile phone which allows them to get a full picture of you and your finances.
3. Scam adverts on Google and social media: Criminals can pay for adverts to appear at the top of search results, so be on your guard when using Google and other search engines such as Bing. It’s too easy for criminals to promote scams on social media platforms and search engines.
4. Sim-swap fraud : has your number been hijacked? Banks are increasingly sending security codes by text message when customers use online banking or make online card payments. This offers a layer of protection, by making it harder for scammers to hack into your account or use stolen card details online
5. Fake emails and texts from ‘your bank’ :Phishing messages have sadly become a part of daily life, and the slickest examples can catch anyone out. Clicking on a link in a fake bank email or text could take you to a cloned website where fraudsters steal financial or personal details to cloned bank websites, set up to steal their login details.
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available: Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri. For general advice 0344 493 0012. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/
Citizens Advice Lancashire West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line
0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk