Fraud is at record levels in the UK – but have you considered what more you can do to protect yourself from it?
The latest stats from the Office for National Statistics showed that an estimated 5.6 million people were victims of fraud or cybercrime last year. In particular, identity fraud continues to be a big problem – according to anti-fraud body Cifas there were 173,000 cases last year, and that’s a record high.
While fraudsters are constantly updating their tactics, there are some simple steps you can take to lower your risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
We recently asked more than 1,800 Which? members about their online and offline security. We found that two thirds of them use the same password across multiple accounts, increasing the risk of getting their accounts hacked.
More than one in four of them are also on the open electoral register, which means their details are publicly available, and just one in four check their credit report at least once a year.
Using other risk factors, such as personal information shared social media accounts and using up-to-date antivirus software, we calculated a fraud risk score for those members. What we found is that a sizeable chunk of them had a medium to high risk of fraud.
So we’ve created a quiz to help you identify your fraud risk and take you through a number of things you can do to help to protect yourself.
Bank transfer scams
Even so, these measures won’t guarantee you’ll never get scammed and lose money. Fraudsters’ tactics are becoming evermore sophisticated, and particularly so when it comes to bank transfer scams.
As part of our scams campaign we asked people to share with us their experiences of losing money to bank transfer scams – hundreds of people told us stories of how they, or someone they knew, have collectively lost over £5.5m due to bank transfer scams.
Unfortunately, should you become a victim of a bank transfer scam then you have a slim chance of getting your money back. That’s why we’ve been calling for banks to step up to the plate and do more to protect their customers.
Some of you will recall that in September 2016, we issued a super-complaint to the Payment Systems Regulator about how banks were dealing with bank transfer scams. The regulator stopped short of making banks take on greater responsibility, but it did agree that not enough is being done and asked the industry to make improvements.
We’ve not yet seen many changes from banks, so we’ll be keeping up the pressure and continuing to call on the banks to do more to protect their customers.
Do you think you’re doing enough to protect yourself from fraud?