Don't panic. If you think you've been a victim of fraud, these simple steps can help you protect yourself and stop fraudsters in their tracks.
If you find yourself in any of the following situations. You can be reasonably suspicious that you are at risk of or may already be a victim of fraud:
You see entries that you don't recognise or can explain on Your credit report.
There are unusual transactions on your bank or credit card statement.
You apply to claim benefits but you are told you are already claiming.
You receive bills and invoices for purchases you do not recognise.
You are refused credit despite having a good credit history.
Post you have been expecting has not been arriving.
However, there may be an explanation behind suspicious transactions and events.
For example, a £50 payment to your local supermarket when you know you spent £20. You then remember you asked for £30 cashback.
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:
Replace your cards: If they have been compromised e.g. your card details have been stolen and there is a risk that fraudsters can spend your money.
Step up security on your account: To stop future unauthorised transactions.
Refund any money that has been taken: They are obliged to do this by the Payment Service Regulations 2009 and The Lending Code.
Provide useful information On how to spot fraud and scams.
To get protection through Section 75 which could get you a refund if you fall for a scam. You can find a credit card and check your eligibility here.
For anything suspicious and get it rectified before it causes issues. Speak to the company directly or submit a query with one of the three credit reference agencies. They are:
This will put a flag against your name on the National Fraud Database so companies will carry out extra checks before they approve applications for financial products in your name. Cifas membership costs £20 for two years.
To report fraud and scams. The service is the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime, run by the City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
You can call them on on 0300 123 2040 or submit an enquiry on their website.
There are a many types of fraud. The most of the common are:
Vishing occurs by telephone. For example:
Fraudsters phone you and pretend to be from your broadband provider
They tell you that they need to fix issues with your internet connection
They ask you to give them remote access to your computer by downloading software
They ask you to log into your online banking to give you a refund as a good will gesture
They then start moving money out of your account.
Phishing usually starts from receiving an online message. For example:
Fraudsters contacts you by email, text or social media
They pose as a reputable company or someone you know
They ask you to click a link and enter your personal details into a form
They later use this information for their own gain
If you have clicked any suspicious links or given remote access to your computer, fraudsters can infect your device with a virus which allows them to monitor your online activity and store your sensitive data e,g passwords and emails.
Get your device "professionally cleaned" from a local PC store to remove harmful software and to ensure the device is safe to use.
Your bank or service providers will never contact you by phone or email and ask you to provide:
Your personal details
Your debit or credit card numbers
Remote access to your computer
Your online banking card reader codes
Fraudsters are known to use technology that allows them to display a genuine company's phone number on your screen, which can trick you into thinking the call is genuine,
If you have concerns, hang up and call the company they said they are from back on a genuine number such as the one on your statement or the back of your card to ask if the call was genuine.
Never call a number that the person on the phone has given you to call back on. Always call the number published on cards and official websites and documents.
Only use reputable websites and only enter your personal details on secure websites signified by:
'https://' at the start of the url
A padlock or key symbol displayed in the address bar
Ensure that the computers you use have an up to date firewall and anti-virus software installed. This will help prevent hackers gaining access to your personal information while you are online.
If you move house:
Get your post redirected to your new address
Notify your bank and and other businesses you have dealings with
Always shred old bills, bank statements or personal correspondence. A 'cross-cut' shredder does a better job of destroying your information than a 'strip' one
When taking cash out from an ATM you should always:
Look for signs of tampering: Check if the machine looks different to other ones you have used in the past. Also look out for anything unusual stuck on the front.
Use your other hand as a shield: When you type your PIN number into a cash machine.
Never let anyone disappear with your cards regardless of where you are and what you are paying for, most establishments now have portable card machines.
Although many insurance policies do not pay out if you fall for fraud, you could get cover for:
To reduce the likelihood of fraud occurring in the future:
Cancel any lost or stolen credit cards as soon as they go missing; to minimise the risk of fraud.
Keep passwords and pin numbers secret. Memorise them, and never write them down. Use different passwords for each account and avoid using personal information like dates of birth or names.
Check your statements Keep a close eye out for unauthorised transactions and notify your bank immediately if you notice anything suspicious
Spending with a credit card offers extra protection from scammers and fraudsters with Section 75 cover. Compare credit cards to find one that suits how you spend.