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A financial scam has been committed every 15 seconds

A new report by Financial Fraud Action (FFA) has found that a financial scam was committed once every 15 seconds in the first six months of the year. This has been the inspiration behind a new campaign that will highlight what to look out for to protect yourself from these kind of scams.

The first half of the year saw more than one million cases of card, cheque, phone and online fraud, a 53% rise in scams reported in the same period last year. However, this number only highlights reported cases of financial scams, many people are too embarrassed to admit this has happened to them.

Losses are usually refunded or prevented by banks, they are currently managing to stop £7 of every £10 in potential fraud losses; but not every case is refunded and millions are still being lost every year. As a result, the FFA is promoting advice to help prevent fraud via their Take Five campaign.

The campaign, created by the FFA and backed by police, the banking industry and consumer groups, will be warning people of the signs to look out for. They are focussing on ensuring consumers step away from phone and email correspondences to think about what is being asked before acting.

Busy lives and pressure from scam callers are the main culprits for those being caught out by these scams. This is why taking a step back is so important as Katy Worobec, director of FFA, told the BBC; “We are asking people to take five – to take that moment – to pause and think before they respond to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details,”

The increase in the amount of ways we communicate has given scammers more opportunities than ever to target us. Phone calls, text scams and scam emails are now used regularly by fraudsters to obtain our personal data. As a result, fraud and cybercrime now accounts for nearly half of all offences. (British Crime Survey)

Although many consumers are aware not to give out their personal details, they are still being caught out when they are busy which leads them to let their guard down.

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Home Office Security Minister, Ben Wallace, has acknowledged that our busy lives are making us more vulnerable; “The impact of financial fraud can be devastating on victims, with fraudsters using increasingly cunning and convincing tactics. They prey on people who are trying to get on with their lives but in a moment where they are busy or distracted become vulnerable.”

The Take Five campaign has devised five tips to help you protect yourself from being a victim of fraud.

  • Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine
  • Don’t be rushed, genuine callers will allow time for you to return their call
  • Never disclose your personal details such as PINs or passwords
  • Consider your instincts
  • Have confidence to refuse unusual requests

The idea is to make consumers aware of scammer’s tactics and to take their time to consider these communications before taking any action. If you receive one of these scam calls or you suspect the latest email you have received from your bank, creditor provider etc. if a fake, then take heed of the points above.

If you have been a victim of a financial scam, you should get in contact with your local police department as soon as possible. You can report scam emails, phone calls etc. to Action Fraud.

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