Fraud is the crime most likely to affect British adults – and anyone can fall victim to it. In fact, it now accounts for 41% of all crime.
iD Mobile is supporting the UK Government’s National Campaign Against Fraud, and to help tackle fraud, the government has just introduced a national Stop! Think Fraud campaign packed with useful tips to keep you safe. We’ve rounded up the most important information below. Have a careful read, and make sure you’re doing everything mentioned. That way, you’ll keep yourself protected from fraud and scammers as much as possible.
Protect your data and devices
It’s important that you protect the personal data and information on your phone, laptop and other devices. Here are three top tips to help you do just that.
1. Use a strong password for your email.
Your emails contain a lot of information about you that criminals can use to scam you or people you know. So, it’s crucial you use a strong password for your email account that you don’t use for anything else.
Your email inbox can also act as a ‘gateway’ to your other accounts. Once a fraudster can access it, they could use the ‘forgot password’ option to request emails enabling them to get into other accounts, such as your social media.
Use a combination of 3 random words to create a password long and strong enough. Avoid words that can be guessed, like your pet’s name or birth month. Adding numbers and symbols is a good way to make your password even harder to guess.
2. Use 2-step verification where possible, to protect your email account.
2-step verification (sometimes called 2SV) helps to keep criminals out of your important accounts, such as your email and social media - even if they have your passwords.
It works by sending a code or PIN to a device only you have access to, such as your phone. Typing in this code or PIN helps to prove your identity.
You’ll usually only be asked to do this when you sign in using a new device or change settings, such as your password.
So if you’re asked if you’d like to set up 2-step verification, always do so – you’ll be making life twice as hard for criminals!
3. Use your browser’s password manager.
If your web browser offers to save your password when you’re logging in or creating an account, always do this. These ‘password managers’ will help you create and store strong, different passwords for all your different accounts. They’re easy to use, hard to crack and will save you from having to memorise your passwords.
Know the warning signs of fraud
Criminals are great pretenders. They might contact you pretending to be a trusted person or company. Millions of people are targeted by scam messages or phone calls like this every year.
So, if something seems suspicious or unexpected, such as requests for money or information, contact the organisation directly to check. Use contact details from their official website - not those given in the message.
Report suspicious or ‘phishing’ emails
Phishing is when someone sends you a message to try to trick you into revealing personal information. Criminals often send phishing emails to get you to click a link and visit a website. In 2021, 80% of British adults remembered receiving a fraudulent text or email.
If you click a link, it could enable the fraudster to download a virus onto your computer. Or it could send you to a cloned website where criminals can steal bank details or other personal information.
By reporting phishing emails, you can help to stop criminal activity and prevent other people from falling victim. So, before you delete suspicious emails, forward them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Report spam texts or calls
Criminals sometimes send texts asking you to click a link so that they can attempt to steal your money or personal information. They might also call and try to trick you over the phone.
Reporting scam texts and calls will help your provider find out where the calls or texts came from and can help get the senders blocked or banned.
To report a scam text, forward it to 7726 and then send the sender’s number when prompted.
To report a scam call, simply text 7726 with the word ‘Call’ followed by the scam caller’s number.
Suspicious ads? Report them too!
Don’t fall victim to scam advertising campaigns. If you see a suspicious ad – such as one that includes fake celebrity news or clearly false claims about products – report it to the Advertising Standards Authority by searching ‘ASA scam report’.
If you’ve been a victim of fraud, take action immediately
It’s easy to report fraud or cyber-crime – and it’s important to do so.
You should report it to your bank as soon as possible. This enables your bank to investigate and take action to protect your account.
Contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. Reporting fraud means it will be passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate and help to prevent other people falling victim.
In Scotland, report fraud directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.
Over to you…
When it comes to preventing fraud, there’s real power in communities like ours. So please comment below if you’ve got any other good tips to help prevent fraud and stop scammers. We’d love to hear your suggestions.