Opinion: Don't make it easy for the scammers to get your cash
Identity fraud and scams happen to other people, don’t they? It won’t happen to me or you.
I’m sure you’ve told yourself that because I certainly have.
You read a newspaper or online article about someone who loses money through some sort of fraud or is duped into giving their bank details to someone who isn’t who they say they are and suddenly their account is emptied.
How can that happen we wonder if the person has heeded advice from police and all the financial institutions who constantly seem to bombard us with warnings about being on our guard.
Well it can happen and when you least expect it.
I know because it happened not once, not twice but three times within the space of a few days.
Thankfully I’ve not ended up out of pocket but it's concerning to discover how easily it can happen – and when you least expect it.
They’re clever these fraudsters. They don’t wipe out your account at the first go.
In my case it was a £6.99 payment to Amazon.
Now I’m not a great online shopper but do occasionally so this wasn’t an unusual purchase. However, what our scammers didn’t know was this was a credit card that I only use when abroad … and it certainly hasn’t been used much lately. In fact, it’s not even in my purse.
I spotted the purchase and tried getting in touch with the bank but was stuck in a queue so thought that I would call again the next day.
But the bank beat me to it the next morning with a voicemail to contact them immediately. It seemed that someone had again tried to make an Amazon purchase, valued at under £30, with my details and, as it’s a card rarely used they declined it before checking with me.
After going through lots of checks the solution was to cancel my card, send out a new one and the £6.99 was wiped from my account.
But days later a relative showed me an NHS email they had received to arrange their Covid-19 vaccine. I was helping to fill it in till we came to the part that wanted £5 and their bank details.
Warning bells rang and I realised that this wasn’t from the NHS – but how many others have been taken it?
It certainly pays to be alert and think twice before you give out your personal details or it could be a costly mistake.