The UK experienced rising levels of fraud throughout the coronavirus pandemic and it is estimated that more than £750m was stolen from consumers in the first six months of 2021. According to UK Finance, less than half of the money lost in these cases was refunded by banks.
Scams are becoming ever more sophisticated, and in previous years the largest losses have involved debit and credit cards. However, for the first time, authorised push payment (APP) fraud overtook this, which is where victims are duped into thinking they are paying a genuine organisation.
APP can involve large transactions, involving property purchases, but an increasingly common scam is where fraudsters pose as delivery companies, sending fake delivery text messages asking for payment to have a parcel redelivered.
What can you do to avoid a scam
- Treat all unexpected communications with caution.
- If a firm or your bank calls you unexpectedly and you are a customer of that company, use the contact details provided on official communications or their website to call them back.
- Look out for poor spelling and grammar.
- Don’t click links in suspicious texts or emails.
- Use unique passwords for all of your online log ins and never share your password.
- Be wary of urgent deadlines and never rush into making a payment – legitimate organisations will never pressure you to action anything immediately.
- Beware of adverts on social media.
- Keep your virus protection software up to date.
- If you’re unsure about a financial services company, check the FCA register to ensure they are genuine.
Who to report a scam to?
- Contact your bank straight away if you think you are a victim of a scam and report it to the Police or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
- You can also seek advice from Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.