Unfortunately, scams are everywhere, but there are a few common ones that you can familiarise yourself with so you know the telltale signs and can be one step ahead in keeping your information safe.
Identity theft is when a fraudster obtains enough information (such as name, DOB, address) to commit identity fraud. This could be opening bank accounts in your name, obtaining credit cards, loans or hire-purchase agreements, ordering goods or taking out genuine documents such as passports and driving licences in your name.
- Be careful about how much of your personal information is available online
- Review the privacy settings on your social media accounts and think about what you share online
- Never give out private information over email, text, letter or phone call unless you’re certain that the request has come from a legitimate company
- Install the latest software, app and operating system updates on your computer/mobile devices, or set them to update automatically
- Ensure your passwords are strong and you’re not using the same one for more than one account
- Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots when doing anything confidential online
- File sensitive documents securely, and shred those you no longer need
Push payment fraud
Push payment fraud is a scam where fraudsters convince you to transfer money to them. They’ll pose as a legitimate business or individual who is known to you (usually via email) to inform you that their bank account details have changed and to make a payment to the new account. Fraudsters can intercept emails, so may already have enough information to convince you that they’re real, such as who you are due to make a payment to.
What to look out for
- Be wary of unexpected emails from a business or individual letting you know that their payment details have changed
- Don’t make any payments without checking that the details are correct from a trusted email/phone number
Online shopping scams
Always keep alert when shopping online. Fraudsters may mimic websites in order to appear legitimate, or even sell goods/services that don’t exist.
Things you can do
- Research the business to check they’re genuine
- Question the quality of the website – does it look professional?
- Look at customer reviews to see previous experiences