September 17, 2023

Whilst the internet has allowed given us a lot of benefits, it has also opened the door to a number of problems, one of which is fraud.

Beforehand, the bogeyman could only get us if we let them in through the door; nowadays we need to set up very stringent security measures and control our behaviour whenever we go online. I think pretty much everyone knows now that it extremely unlikely that they have a long lost relative who has died and left them their entire estate. Everyone loves those responsive podcast links such as: “tell me how to cook carbonara”, but just be aware. 

Fraud can take many shapes, but the main ones are:

  1. Identity Theft: This occurs when someone steals personal information related to you, such as your name, National Insurance number, passport details or any financial account details, with the intent to commit fraudulent activities. This can enable them to open fraudulent bank accounts, make unauthorized purchases, or make other claims in your name.
  2. Credit Card Fraud: Credit card fraud involves the unauthorized use of your credit card information to make purchases or withdraw funds. This can happen through physical theft of the card, online data breaches, or through tactics like card skimming at cash point machines. With more people using their phones to make purchases, it’s worth setting up fingerprint log in (set up 2 or 3 different fingers as a precaution) to minimise this risk.
  3. Phishing and Online Scams: Phishing involves deceptive emails, websites, or messages designed to trick you into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial details. Online scams can take various forms, including lottery scams, and romance scams, all of which aim to defraud victims of their money or personal information.
    Beware of any texts saying you owe money and will receive a fine unless you click on the link to pay the amount outstanding. If you are expecting a delivery from overseas and need to pay import duties to eg: Royal Mail, then you should receive a notification in the post with a website and reference number. These scams are particularly active during holiday season when people are expecting parcels from friends and family overseas.
  4. Insurance Fraud: Insurance fraud occurs when individuals or organizations make false claims or inflate the value of claims to receive money they are not entitled to. This can include faking accidents, exaggerating injuries, or submitting false documents. I see quite a few people now using mini video cameras in their cars now to try and minimise this exposure.
  5. Investment and Ponzi Schemes: Investment fraud schemes promise high returns on investments but ultimately will use new investors’ funds to pay returns to earlier investors, rather than generating legitimate profits. Ponzi schemes, named after Charles Ponzi, are a specific type of investment fraud. These schemes eventually collapse when there are not enough new investors to pay returns to earlier participants.

Over the past couple of weeks, people have been conned into buying so calling “closing down stock” from Wilko, this from websites which have sprung up claiming to be liquidating stock. From garden furniture to air friers, people have handed over a lot of money to these sites and never received anything.

So if it looks too good to be true, it’s probably dodgy, just like in the real world.

If you’re not sure, contact us or post a question in the community section.



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