Think you can spot an online scam?
We often hear stories of cybercriminals tricking people into giving up their bank details or other personal information, but it seems that most of us think we’ll never be a victim ourselves.
Eighty percent of 2,300 people in a recent survey said they believe they can always spot bogus emails or similar fraud attempts, but an actual test to see how good we are at identifying scams showed that just 9 percent of 63,000 people passed with flying colors. Meaning that 91 percent of us could do with some extra training.
The data comes from Take Five, a U.K. campaign with government backing that offers advice to help people protect themselves from financial fraud. On January 22, the Take Five To Stop Fraud Week launched as a nationwide multimedia push to get the word out so people can more confidently identify and deal with scam correspondence.
“Many people may already know the do’s and don’ts of financial fraud — that no one should ever contact them out of the blue to ask for their PIN or full password, or ever make them feel pressured into moving money to another account,” Take Five says. “The trouble is, in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget this.”
The campaign, which suggests you “take five minutes and listen to your instincts” when you come across a suspicious message, is offering its “too smart to be scammed” test for anyone to try. You can take it here.
One of the questions goes like this:
“You’re having some new radiators fitted and you get this email (below) from your plumber to notify you of some changes to their bank details before you send their fee. Do you transfer the money?”
Dear xxxx, We need the funds up front before starting our job at your property. Please arrange for a bank transfer to the details below as soon as possible. Account number: 85892250, sort code: 15-02-19
Kind regards, xxxx
Fraudulent? You’d better believe it. This kind of scam is becoming increasingly common, with the sender either having knowledge of the work being done, or simply chancing it via spam. Take Five’s advice? Always double-check with the person you’re sending money to by calling them to make sure the email really came from them and that the details are correct. ” And always call them using a number that you trust — such as the one on their official website.”
If you’d like to know more about how you can sharpen up your detection skills, Take Five’s website offers plenty of useful advice. You can check it out here.
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