Check if you have been scammed

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.

What to do about it

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

Tell your bank

They can:

  • 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.

Pay by credit card

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.

Check your credit report

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:

Register with Cifas

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.

Speak to Action Fraud

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.

Be aware of scams

There are a many types of fraud. The most of the common are:

Vishing

Vishing occurs by telephone. For example:

  1. Fraudsters phone you and pretend to be from your broadband provider

  2. They tell you that they need to fix issues with your internet connection

  3. They ask you to give them remote access to your computer by downloading software

  4. They ask you to log into your online banking to give you a refund as a good will gesture

  5. They then start moving money out of your account.

Phishing

Phishing usually starts from receiving an online message. For example:

  1. Fraudsters contacts you by email, text or social media

  2. They pose as a reputable company or someone you know

  3. They ask you to click a link and enter your personal details into a form

  4. They later use this information for their own gain

Malware

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.

Stop it happening again

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.

Stay safe online

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.

Protect your mail

If you move house:

  1. Get your post redirected to your new address

  2. 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

Protect your debit card

When taking cash out from an ATM you should always:

  1. 1.

    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.

  2. 2.

    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.

Get insured

Although many insurance policies do not pay out if you fall for fraud, you could get cover for:

Decrease your fraud risk

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.