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The 5 biggest scams out there right now and how you can avoid them

by - 13/11/2023 in Fraud Twitter logo icon link Facebook logo icon link LinkedIn logo icon link
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It happens all the time: we’re asked to provide our email address or phone number for a new account, a paperless receipt, even just to do a bit of online shopping. But once our personal details are out there on the web, we suddenly get an influx of scam emails, texts, or phone calls that we can never seem to get away from.

We spoke to Richard Powell, our Group Head of Financial Crime and Risk, to find out what types of scams our customers are seeing and how we can protect ourselves against them.

“The external landscape is seeing a significant increase in fraud and certainly the more sophisticated scams that are deceiving people every day,” Richard explained.

“Our savings proposition only allows a customer to transact with their own validated nominated account and therefore prevents our customers from moving their savings directly to a third party account. This means that there’s no direct transaction that can be made between our savings customers’ money and a scammer’s bank account. However, that doesn’t mean that once transferred to their nominated account the customer could still send from that account onto the scammer.

“That’s why everyone always needs to take care, be vigilant and remain aware of the many scams that are out there, what they look like and how to avoid them.”

Below are the top five scams Richard and his team are currently seeing more of and how you can protect yourself against them.

  1. Banking scams: with this type of scam, the scammer will reach out to you and say they’re from your bank. They’ll pretend that your account has been compromised in some way and they need to move your money into a more secure account.
    To avoid: remember that banks will never get in touch with you and ask you to move money. Always take your time and, if in doubt, put the phone down and call your bank back (on the official number) about five minutes later to double check the claims.
  2. FCA Impersonation: as Charter Savings Bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), scammers are starting to impersonate the FCA to try and trick people out of their money. Customers receive phone calls or emails to say that their bank is being investigated and telling the customer to move their money out of their account and into a safer account, which then turns out to be the scammer’s account.
    To avoid: the FCA has confirmed that they’ll never ask you to transfer money to them1, so if you ever get a phone call from ‘the FCA’ telling you to do so, put the phone down and ignore it. If you’re worried, you can contact the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
  3. WhatsApp – family impersonation: nowadays, most people use WhatsApp in some form or another, and fraudsters are using this and other social media platforms to convince people to part with their money. They’ll often pretend to be a child or close relative and say that they have either lost their phone, changed their number or are using a friend’s phone. They’ll say there is a problem (maybe their account has been blocked or their phone is broken) but they have an urgent bill to pay. They’ll ask you if you can pay the bill for them and pay you back.
    To avoid: call the original number you have saved for the person who is supposedly messaging you. No doubt they’ll have no idea what’s going on and they’ll confirm that it isn’t them asking you for money.
  4. Parcel delivery: ever since the event-that-shall-not-be-named happened in 2020, more and more people have been using online shopping to get their goods. Since then, we’ve seen a rise in parcel delivery fraud. These usually say that your parcel has been stopped or needs to be rescheduled due to additional fees that need to be paid.
    To avoid: contact the courier service directly and use their official details to double check if it is really them that has contacted you.
  5. Subscription services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple etc.): as so many people now have some form of subscription service, scammers are contacting people to say that their subscription’s been blocked, cancelled, or suspended because something has gone wrong. It’s usually disguised as something like a payment has failed or you need to pay an additional fee to reinstate your account.
    To avoid: simply log in to your account for whichever service is apparently blocked – usually you’ll see that everything is totally fine and is not blocked or suspended.

Richard said it’s imperative that we all stay vigilant when dealing with our money, banking, and personal details online.

“Many fraudsters gather information over time to make a scam much more realistic when they do eventually reach out to you. Always make sure you’re cautious when you give out any personal details and just remember, always take your time, don’t be pressured by anyone and double check the authenticity of a person reaching out to you who asks you to move what is your money,” he added.

If you’d like to report a scam or are worried about your personal information, you can get in touch with the National Cyber Security Centre.

1. Fake FCA communications | FCA

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Your eligible deposits held by a UK establishment of Charter Savings Bank are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the UK’s deposit protection scheme. Any deposits you hold above the limit are unlikely to be covered. Please click here for further information or visit www.fscs.org.uk.