Email and text scams to watch out for this autumn

Don't be caught out by scam emails or texts. Here are some of the most common to be aware of…

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The threat from financial fraud is on the rise, with £2 million being lost every day in the UK*. And anyone is at risk of being duped these days as scam emails, texts and websites have become increasingly sophisticated and easier to fall for.

The Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign is designed to help you recognise these scams and confidently challenge fraudulent approaches. Its message is simple: if you’re approached by email, text or in person with an unsolicited request to reveal personal or financial information, always stop, take five and remind yourself of this simple phrase: ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so!’

It’s a message that’s easy to remember, so you can give yourself time to consider whether requests for payments are legitimate.

Watch out for the fake TV Licence refund
Designed to dupe you into parting with your bank or credit card details and personal information, this is often an email telling you you’re due a refund on your TV Licence fee. It gives a link to click, taking you to a website where you enter your account details. One TV Licensing scam even replicates the official website but with a slightly different URL, which you wouldn’t notice at a glance. And once the fraudsters have your details, it gives them the opportunity to steal your money.

Take Five for a tax rebate scam
HMRC phishing emails are a bit like Whack-a-Mole – once one dies down another seems to replace it. HMRC has a list of email addresses scammers use to send you their fictitious messages about tax rebates. As with the TV Licensing scam, the aim is to get you to hand over your personal and financial details so criminals can raid your savings. HMRC says that they’ll never notify you of a tax rebate or refund, or ask you to disclose personal information by email.

Beware the iTunes/Apple emails
Much like the HMRC-branded phishing emails, scams like these are commonly used to defraud. The email purports to be from Apple advising that your account has been used to make a purchase, but there’s also a link to cancel it. Clicking through, the website asks for personal and financial details like bank details, your telephone number and sometimes your mother’s maiden name. The scammers then use this information to gain access to your accounts.

Spot the speeding ticket phishing
Received an email claiming that you’ve been caught speeding? Definitely worth taking five to check this one out. One fraudulent email doing the rounds claims to be from the police, and says it has photographic evidence that you failed to adhere to the speed limit. It’s believed that this specific scam is designed to infect your computer with a virus once you’ve clicked on the link to see the ‘evidence’. Make sure you install the latest software and app updates to keep you safe from those hackers!

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Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national campaign from FFA UK and the UK Government, backed by the banking industry. Visit takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

*Source: Financial Fraud Action UK, 2016

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