/ Money, Technology

Are we too susceptible to scammers’ psychological tricks?

Card trick, scams

Scammers are notoriously good at staying ahead of the curve in their techniques to trick you.

I love magic tricks – I’m always so amazed when someone appears to read my mind and tell me what card I’d pictured. That’s right, it’s the 10 of Clubs – how did you know? It must be magic!

But it’s not – the truth is if I hadn’t been so wrapped up in the trick, I could’ve spotted the many clues dropped into the pattern leading me to pick the 10 of Clubs. I’m just predictable – predictably human and predictably vulnerable to tricks…

Easy to trick

I’m not the only one that loves these tricks, if the popularity of Derren Brown and Dynamo is anything to go by. But these psychological techniques can be used for more sinister ends – scammers are increasingly relying on people to behave predictably.

Did you know, according to the Office of National Statistics, that you’re 20 times more likely to fall victim to fraud than robbery?

According Robert Cialdini, professor of psychology, fraudsters use the ‘six principles of persuasion‘ to lure you to their tricks, these tactics are:

  • Reciprocity – you’ll probably feel indebted to someone who does something for you, or gives you something.
  • Commitment and consistency – once committed you’re more likely to be consistent and respond to their consistent messaging.
  • Liking – you’re more likely to trust someone you like.
  • Authority – you’re more likely to obey an authoritative figure.
  • Scarcity – you’re likely to be persuaded to want something that’s rare.
  • Social proof – this appeals to people’s needs to conform, you may be persuaded to do something by what others are doing too.

When we recently tested a group of people to identify genuine and scam emails we found that people could correctly identify the dodgy emails 67% of the time, and that was despite being confident that the right answer had been picked 84% of the time – it’s that gap that leaves us exposed to fraudsters and their tricks.

We can keep our wits about us, but the scams are increasingly sophisticated and play on our human nature to respond in certain ways to certain cues.

The Head of Fraud Prevention at Barclays says that when he listens back to scam phone calls, he is impressed by the fraudsters’ levels of customer service. When criminals are this artful, it’s no wonder that even the smartest people are caught out. And the results are also impressive: one in 10 of us fell victim to scams and fraud last year, costing the British public around £9bn a year.

Protection from scams

I’m not stupid. But like many I’m polite, trusting and follow the rules. It’s these exact qualities that make me more vulnerable to fraud.

When it comes to protecting yourself from scams knowing what to look out for can be just the half of it.

With scammers getting increasingly advanced in the techniques they’re using it seems unfair to be expected to fend off all fraudsters. And that’s why we’re campaigning to get companies to play their part in making it harder for scammers, we need companies to help by doing all they can to safeguard their customers from these clever scams.


If you suspect you’ve stumbled across a scam then you can report it to Action Fraud.

So, tell me, have you spotted any scammers exercising these persuasive tricks to get you to play along?

Comments
Guest
Carey Kay says:
26 August 2016

Action Fraud are useless – they have no powers and the police won’t investigate because there is Action Fraud! My disabled son lost over £20K and they did not investigate

Guest
Anne says:
26 August 2016

That’s disgusting doing that to ur child . Why dont they get a job like normal people do . I can’t believe they would do that to a child . The police don’t seem to want to do a lot of anything do they . I sometimes wonder what we’re paying their wages for . Is it to do a job or to ignore us ??

Guest

In my experience of numerous personal banking, credit card and BT telephone frauds over the last 12-18 months, Action Fraud are pointless – really all they do is log the fraud and give you information about what to do. Utterly pointless. The police themselves are overrun with this type of fraud, so they too don’t or cannot or won’t really do anything substantive to help and finally the financial institutions themselves are culpable too. Whilst they themselves will lose money – in the frauds perpetrated on me and my partner they lost about £50,000, their systems to protect their customers and then to investigate scams are risible. Finally, the fraudsters also know how to get around the credit check system, so although my partner and I are registered for CIFAS now, the fraudsters are inventing ever more clever scams to get around the protection systems that are in place. In the end I have come to the conclusion that the fraudsters wouldn’t bother if they knew they wouldn’t get anywhere or it would be difficult. I fully support this Which campaign and cannot think of another consumer issue that is more important to deal with RIGHT NOW than banking and other financial fraud.

Guest
David says:
27 August 2016

I had a scam email from Natwest. They told me to ring Action Fraud and Action Fraud told me to ring Natwest. Waste of time.

Guest
graham says:
27 August 2016

I agree. Instead of sending them an email, particularly forwarding a phishing email, you have to complete on online form. This takes time and does not give the police the information they need to stop the fraudsters.
If I can look up an IP address from the header information and find who the criminal’s service provider, why can’t the police and service providers to at least put an immediate stop to the criminal’s service and hopefully pay them a visit!

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Guest

Graham because this is Britain not America .American citizens =#1– British citizens=#3. And yes they do that in the States.

Guest
gwyn jones says:
23 September 2016

I agree …why does the UK Govcernment keep referring victims to it…It never acknowledges your communicatioh & never replies.Operation Archway is the same.
How does recpognizea scammer….I ws having problems with my Hotmail when a draft email crashed. Please phone Hotmail on O800…. for help. Got through to someone in India whosaid that my PC had been hacked . I year protection would cost $199, 2 year……etc…yet he said that there was no protection against hackers….I suspect that I was not talking to Hotpoint support.
What’s there to stop an anti virus company s******g up your PC then suggesting that what you need is its more expensive antivirus software

Guest

Banks in particular should be more careful with our money. They should make it as hard as possible for fraudsters. Otherwise there is zero reason for them to exist as they pay round about zero interest now. Also the criminal courts are way too lenient. For instance if someone is caught of defrauding someone of £1,000 then it should be a £1,000 fine, if it is £120,000 then it should be a £120,000 fine. No ifs or buts.

Guest
Winston Maskell says:
26 August 2016

I definitely agree with this – plus ALL police and court costs.

Guest
Martina Howley says:
26 August 2016

Banks should ensure their staff are giving correct info to customers. They should also investigate more thoroughly instead of leaving it up to customer when fraud is reported and I had to investigate myself . I eventually got company taking money from account to admit it had not been instigated from my account but was fraudulent. Bank ended up having to repay as the amount of time that had passed had gone past their 40 day period. How much money are banks willing to lose through fraud and negligence of care with our money?

Guest
dave says:
26 August 2016

Yes Stu, I agree with you over this point. I believe that all thieves should repay their victims for the victims financial loss plus a no limit 20% fine as well. Would you please contact the centre for social justice website and ask them to pursue this matter. If enough people do this then I am sure that all the current penalties for theft can be altered. The thieves in this country are driving us all into bankruptcy!!

Guest
David says:
26 August 2016

Can’t agree with that, £1,000 fraud should attract a £10,000 fine and a spell at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

Guest
John hoare says:
26 August 2016

What is the Child Obesity Program?
Why ask a question if it not explained.

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Guest

Hello John, sorry it seems you’ve come through to the wrong post. Here’s our piece on the childhood obesity strategy: https://conversation.which.co.uk/food-drink/childhood-obesity-strategy-public-health-government/

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Guest

If I might put in a plea of mitigation for John’s error – there is a prominent box alongside this Conversation containing a poll with a bold heading that says: “Do you think the Government should rethink the childhood obesity strategy?“. No wonder people get confused. John’s comment was both apposite and pertinent, and thankfully brief.

Guest
Robert Woolley says:
26 August 2016

Most scams are coming from India, they phone you and try to get you to go along with them. The latest one is they say they are from your Internet provider and would like you to update your settings as they are having trouble and may not be able to keep you connected. These and other scams have details from somewhere, which are correct and this needs stopping. Most of these scams will fail from this country if they did not have any details. This scam failed as they said, ” We can see the problem on my computer”……which is rubbish, but they had the correct data…WHY is this. I can see that the older generation could and are duped by this trick, I’m lucky as I work with computers and know that you have to give permission for these people to come on your system for them to see anything. Do we need to educate the elderly and provide a list of what these people are unable to see or do. My idea would be to block all calls from these countries, my phone does now and will not let these people through, Ive just had enough of these people cold calling.

Guest
alec says:
26 August 2016

It should be much easier to block unwanted calls. I am now getting daily “International” calls which are annoying as well as time wasting. I let them go to voicemail at which time they hang up.
The only way that I can see to avoid this is to get a “Call Blocker” but that is going to cost me about £100. Why should I have to pay that much to get rid of these idiots?

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Guest

I expect there are cheaper call-blockers but I think they all rely on the caller-identification service from your telecom service provider. This could typically cost £3 a month on a landline. Call-blocker phones are selling fast and furiously with two consequences: (1) the scammers and cold-callers are increasing their activity in their desperation to out-pace subscribers, and (2) the authorities have taken their foot off the pedal while they wait for the problem to sort itself out with everyone possessing a call-blocker.

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Guest

Exactly right John in both -# 1 + # 2 and right again mine cost half of the one Which sponsors (no disrespect to Which ) and is America,s top seller .If its any consolation America,s version of the UK,s official nuisance call stopping service is just as bad -ie-doesnt work /ignored.

Guest
alexandra taylor says:
26 August 2016

Robert Woolley quite agree more Robert I’m old and not at all savvy with computers about a month ago all my email addresses got sent an email supposedly from me – but wasn’t – saying I was in Thailand – Ukrain – Africa and elsewhere asking for money for me to get home – now my computer is playing up – in coming emails are going straight into trash so I have to read them in there – my screen freezes all the time now find my emails I write and send do not get to who I sent it to – I now cannot forward any emails cause the forward has disappeared – scanned it for viruses – nothing found – still waiting for bt to help me said after 6 to ring – but no they ring in the afternoon when I’m out – it is just getting so bad now – £40-00 odd pounds for an hour for someone to look at my computer – but I’m old and these days everything is so expensive – so who has 40 pounds to spare in this day and age

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Guest

Alexandra – your email service has been taken over and your virus protection isnt good enough . Your computer has been hacked and taken over you need some deep removal programmes . But before you begin change your email password . As you say yourself you are not entirely proficient in computer programming I will not waste your time telling you technical things to do except dont pay £40.hr –re-install your system from scratch otherwise modern viruses can stay on your computer even if you keep your data it will be infested as well. Your computer is being used to extort money from your friends and more viruses will be implanted . You must re-install as your ISP and email service will blame YOU ! as they will know what is going on and ban you from using the email service and your ISP will blame you as well. If there is any way I can help or talk you through anything please let ,me know .

Guest
A M Thomson says:
27 August 2016

the BT 8500 ‘phone has a very effective call-blocker facility and cost me around £40 from John Lewis at the beginning of the year.
Alistair

Guest
Angela hulley says:
28 August 2016

I’ve bit the bullet and bought one of these phones, a £100 well spent. It’s brilliant, can’t praise it enough. The phone keeps a record of who’s phoned and although we’ve had the phone now for about 4 months, they still keep ringing but they never get through. Absolutely worth every penny as they were driving me nuts.

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Guest

Although I have a call-blocker not of BT origin , I should add for those buying the BT call-blocking phones as the above two posters the BT 8500 has been superseded by the BT 8600 . I would not like Which Convo watchers to buy the old model. as a BT customer I got offered one at reduced rate. At this very moment a quad version of them is for sale at a reduced price of £90

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Guest

I have heard good reports of the BT 4600 ‘Big Button’ DECT [digital electronic cordless telephone] with advanced call-blocking and answering machine. It appears to have virtually the same functionality as the BT 8600 but because of the big buttons [which might actually be an advantage] the design is not so ‘cool’. The current John Lewis price for a single instrument is £34.00.

Guest
Anne Riggs says:
30 August 2016

I agree with Robert, I have had loads of scam telephone calls from India pertaining to be from my phone provider. I have trie4d reporting these to Action Fraud but because I haven’t been tricked by them I don’t think any notice was taken.

Guest
Steve Costello says:
26 August 2016

Fraud is NOT taken seriously enough. Look at Sarkozy, ex president of France. He was charged with corruption and he is still seen as a hero. A master of persuassion!
For several months I have been monitoring emails from a ‘get rich quick’ scam. Their messages are exciting and full of promise, preying on the desperate. People are fed the line at all levels of western society that material wealth is the be all and end all therefore will do whatever it takes to increase their wealth or try to keep up with their neighbours.
Fraud is but a small, not surprising, blip on the map.

Guest
JamesH says:
26 August 2016

As a retired accountant I despair at the general level of competence of Bank staff in financial matters.Also the Bank,s online security has been proved to be easily bypassed by fraudsters.
Bank customers are expected to be experts in computerised banking systems because there are no practical alternatives.
In my opinion it is only a matter of time before the banking system collapses.

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Guest

You are in good company James the former head of one biggest banking system in the world agrees with you and is transferring funds from $$$$ to gold . Former Federal Reserve Chairman -Alan Greenspan , in a betrayal of his private banking /free market policies is warning against an inevitable Crisis resulting from the very policies he helped implement. and he is against Brexit as Central Bankers ,commercial bankers governments and International corporations who have vested interests were pushing for integration . As global markets protested ,gold markets surged to new 2016 highs post Brexit . I have a lot more on this if anybody is interested .

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Guest

Good trick: First, put your money in a safe place. Next, create a crisis. Then, come out of it smelling of roses. I just hope we don’t have to watch it happen all over again.

Guest
Dave L says:
26 August 2016

I totally agree with JamesH I gave the correct information to the bank to verify who I was and was cut off because they did not believe I was the person in questioned , after going to the bank to find out why I was denied access they told me they could not understand why I was rejected as the information I gave was correct.
If fraudsters made the same request maybe they would be excepted, maybe that is how Gloria Hunniford had her money taken out of her account.

Guest
Josquine says:
27 August 2016

As I understand it, GH was not even party to the transaction concerned. Someone just walked into a branch miles away from where she loved and claimed to be her. Banks should put personal callers through the same identity checks that they do over the phone.

Guest
Jane Giffould says:
27 August 2016

I think it depends on the branch and the staff. Long time ago my local bank, that knew me well, had a new member of staff who wanted to see my ID. Naturally that was the day I had no ID on me. However one of the cashiers saw me, greeted me, and assured the new staff member that I was who I claimed and that I was known.

Guest
Alan Saxton says:
26 August 2016

I recently suggested to my bank that one way to stop fraud would be if the computer providing the correct answer to the password question were set to provide three instead of two characters. The third would be for the banker to tell the customer. This would confirm to the customer that he/she IS speaking to the bank and not a fraudster. Currently it is up to the customer to provide the bank (or the crook) all the information.

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Guest

Not with all banks. My own supplies 50% of the info and I the other.

Guest

I’ve had good, and bad, experiences in banks. I have to say most of my experiences have been good. Except for the following.

In debt, struggling to pay my mortgage. A mortgage advisor told me in a condescending way that I needed specialist help, however she did not signpost me to this specialist help, and said it in a tone that suggested that I was beyond help. When I continued to talk to her, she threatened to have someone (e.g. security) help me to leave. On the way out, I spoke to a manager, saying that I didn’t want to complain, but I was really upset. This manager was very helpful, and gave me a number to phone if I wanted to take this further. Due to this incident, despite my financial difficulties, it was nearly a year later when I returned to the bank. The assistant was helpful and offered to ask the same mortgage assistant help me straight away. I couldn’t keep myself together any longer, and reduced to tears, I declined an appointment with the mortgage assistant. The assistant asked another mortgage assistant to help me. This mortgage assistant worked very hard at helping me, she had helped me before with my mortgage, and was always professional and kind. I did manage to sort my mortgage situation out.
I think that the banks loan money too easily. I was allowed, at a previous bank, and at this bank, to ‘over mortgage’ myself, and to take out an additional loan.
I found when I considered myself to be in debt, the bank had a different view. In my view, I’m in debt if I owe money. I had the impression that the banks view is that I was not in debt because I was not ‘in arrears’. Throughout my time in debt, my credit rating was 100%, this led the bank to say that I was not in debt, in reality, I was really struggling.
On one occasion, in the bank, I went to customer services to ask for a statement for a particular month. I walked away from the desk, checked the statement, and realised I needed a statement for the next month, as the transaction I was looking for was not on the statement. I returned to the desk, and explained what I needed. I asked did the assistant need my card, she replied no, she then gave me my statement. I left, quite upset, realising that the assistant had still been accessing my account even when I’d completed the transaction and walked away.
On another occasion, I went into a different branch of the same bank, and after I had completed the transaction, the cashier continued to look through my account. I walked away from the cashier’s desk, again feeling violated that the cashier had not shown the respect of leaving my account. The cashier looked pleased with herself as she did this.
On another occasion, in the same branch, I was using the self serve. (I prefer to ask staff to serve me, this helps to keep others in employment). A member of staff walked closely behind me, then, another member of staff started kicking violently one of the machines.

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Guest

I think you have provided an interesting account of the relationship we have with our banks these days, S. Professional conduct comes with training and experience. I cannot comment on the training provided, but experience is the product of age and length of service with the bank. It is obvious to most of us who go into banks that this aspect is being compromised and people with little regard for the professional conventions are being employed in front-line positions.

I also have been dissatisfied by the conduct of bank clerks when they have your account open in front of them and their tendency to raise flippant questions distracting you from the business in hand. I once wrote to the manager to complain about it but was dissatisfied with his telephone response and his misjudged attempt at justification. I once had hopes that fewer banks would lead to a quality improvement in professional standards at branch level but that has not occurred; I suspect that salaries are not high enough to attract competent personnel and turnover is higher than it ought to be.

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Guest

In contrast my local, small, branch of a building society seem well-equipped with helpful, knowledgeable staff who have given good advice when needed. We changed our current accounts, after discussion with them, to on-line to gain interest. Technically this also meant using the cash machine to withdraw cash and pay in for example but they said not to worry, if its raining or busy or just if we prefer, come into the counter as usual. Whilst we do use the machine, true to their word the odd visit indoors we made was no problem.

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Guest

My local Nationwide branch is like that, thank goodness. I was writing above about service in a city centre branch which had become a bit slapdash. I haven’t been back there lately – it might have changed.

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Guest

I don’t know why, instead of moaning about their bank, more people don’t simply move to Nationwide. It often gets complimented in Convos. Perhaps it is easier to complain than move?

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Guest

I have had a connection with Nationwide [in different incarnations] through mortgages, savings, investments and a current account for over fifty years and have always been extremely satisfied overall. Nothing has ever gone wrong on the technical/administrative front and I think it is a rare example of an organisation that does reward loyalty in meaningful ways. I was so pleased they chose not to demutualise and the benefits of that policy keep on coming. Although they have grown through take-overs and mergers with smaller societies, their most impressive growth has been organically by continuing to enrol more members so they can continue to offer superior services and provide good branch coverage. T hey helped me incredibly well when I was winding up a relative’s estate last year. I had better close now before this starts to read like a promotion and incurs the moderator’s wrath.

Guest
selwyn Lawrence says:
26 August 2016

Following an Identity fraud back 2009, it is only now that I’m able to open another bank account. However this particular fraud didn’t involve a bank directly, but a credit company, this all boils down to the type of building that I was living at the time. Although I didn’t share the same mailbox as the fraudster, nevertheless this person who happen to be a woman, went to extraordinary lengths in diverting my mail from one part of the buildings letterbox to the other part of the buildings letter box which is the front, to this very day I have no Idea what personal document of mine this fraudster got a hold of which was used to secure a five figure sum loan from a prominent credit company, it was secured six months prior to my knowledge of it, the only time that it came to light, is when the loan company started to send demands for payment, and yes they diverted the demand letters to the location of the building that I live, and by this time the fraudster had been evicted over in relating matters, I went to citizens advice, who advise me to report it to the police to which I did, but nothing was heard from the police or the loan company, to whom I think I was able to convince in the end that I was not responsible for taking out a loan of any description, but nonetheless this incident affected my credit badly, it is only now since this Identity theft that I’m able to open a bank account, so any actions through petitions hosted by Which? has my fullest support.

Guest
Thomasina says:
26 August 2016

I think the banks should more and also we need proper sentencing. There seems to be no deterrent to thieves and scammers today. We need to make and enforce some new laws but then we don’t seem able to enforce the old laws. The legal system and banks seem to have no idea or to even care

Guest
Mike Tynen says:
26 August 2016

Undoubtedly banks should and could do more. But I suspect that measures to make it more difficult for fraudsters to get their hands on your money may also make it more difficult for you to get your hands on your own money!

Guest
Gordon Best says:
26 August 2016

Clearly Gloria is a victim of Identity fraud! She needs to change bangs and sue the fat cat bankers for allowing it to happen.
,

Guest
Mrs Beryl Smith says:
26 August 2016

I was scammed by a phonecall saying my computer was due to crash could I go to switch it on, this was sometime ago they said they were from Microsoft. They charged me £ 200 and odd pounds. Since then I have learnt my lesson and I can categorically say that these people ring me every week with the same tale but now I give them short thrift!

Guest
Jane Giffould says:
27 August 2016

I often do not bother to answer my phone unless I recognise the number. However it is fun speaking to such calls in a foreign language and it has my U3A German group in fits of laughter as I tell the caller what I think of them in German. I dread the day when the caller is a German speaker as my German is not that good. I have given some callers the word NO in at least 10 different languages, another bit of fun. One caller got very annoyed when I kept querying his questions and said I was wasting his time. I agreed with him and said that was my aim because his call had wasted my time, there was a phone banged down at the other end!

Guest

I have no further comment to make on the issue. Thank you for inviting me to address it further. But I have nothing more to add! I hope that someone comes up with something to stop these despicable people!

Guest
Norman Heslip says:
27 August 2016

I was scammed out of £2,500 on my Visa-Card not so-long ago, but Barclay’s added that bill to my a/c when in actual fact I did-not spend that kind of money on my Credit-Card.

Guest
Jane Giffould says:
27 August 2016

Where as some time ago I had a concerned call from Barclays because I had withdrawn £300 which was not normal and they thought my debit card might have been stolen. I had actually done the withdrawing and had a reason for it. It was good that their machinery could alert them to a change in pattern of expenditure.

Guest
ivor says:
27 August 2016

Where does the scammed money go when its stolen from someones account ?
Surely its traceable !
The process of money transfers designed to deceive the security system however complex must be able to be tracked by the banks who can then take immediate action.

If indeed such transactions even bona fide transactions are not trackable then the fundamental aspects of what appears to be an inefficient security system must be altered and this must be a priority action. Trillions of money flows around the system every minute and I suggest slowing down transactions to a practical level of a few seconds will be unlikely to create financial disaster across the planet.

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Guest

Ivor for the big time crooks the money goes digitally through various countries and banks .It can be traced but requires the resources of the FBI/ NSA/GCHQ as its sophisticated digital tracing. There are government organisations that can do it but would they do it for Joe Bloggs ??

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Guest

ivor, perhaps Which? could ask the banks (BBA).

Guest
Les Whalley says:
27 August 2016

My Debit card details were used on an online betting website.Luckily my Bank picked this up very quickly and took steps to secure my account. I thought I was very savvy when it came to security, I have no idea how my details became available.The scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated so we all need to be extra security conscious.

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Guest

Almost certainly it was a rogue employee of a business at which you used your debit card. Most businesses know your name, address, bank card number and security number on the back. And that’s all they need.

Guest
Steven Morris says:
27 August 2016

Banks are not really bothered about tracing scammers as it costs them time and money. Just change your bank and they sometimes get the message. They no longer show any loyalty to their customers so why show them any loyalty? Changing your bank account is really easy these days.
Email scammers…easy to spot.
As for phone scammers, I just leave the phone line open and eventually they get irritated and ring off. The phone call is costing them money.
If I’m feeling bored (I’m retired), I sometimes engage them in long and pointless conversations which drives them mad. It’s fun.

Guest
Eric says:
27 August 2016

When my wife’s bank paid a Visa debit card transaction a second time a year after the first, I couldn’t get them to accept that a cardinal rule of banking is not to pay the same instrument twice. One of the obtuse people I spoke to actually said their agreement with Visa bound them to pay all transactions on sight. So much for looking after your money. I don’t think many people realise the risks involved with using debit cards, especially when on-line “chip and pin” is not available;

Guest
Roger says:
27 August 2016

Prisoners can’t commit crimes..

Guest
Gary says:
28 August 2016

I contacted Nat West and pointed out several areas in which I felt their online security was lacking. I received a curt reply stating that their system was very secure and they took security seriously. I still feel that they do not take adequate precautions to protect thier customers online. The poor basic security procedures which Nat West operate coupled with the number of widely publicised IT problems which they have had mean I would never consider them as my main bank. Whilst I would never make public most of the items I pointed out to them an example is their continued provision of links in routine emails, which is an invitation to scammers to operate phishing scams without raising suspicion.

Guest
Linda Brown says:
4 September 2016

l have been the victim of fraud 3 times now and still not got anywhere with action fraud
what are they doing nothing for me and my husband and l am on the verge of a nervious break down
because none is listening or helping us.

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Guest

Linda , why dont you ask Commander Chris Greany for help ? he is in charge of it . If you have been three times a victim , then can I ask ? Is it during an online transaction or is it via an email ? As I know people who have had nervous breakdowns I wouldnt wish that on anyone but as a simple member of the public could you give me details ( not your personal ones ) of the transactions that took place ? . I ask this so that others may be helped by your story.

Guest

I am pretty sure that I would be in favour, but when invited to sign a petition I expect to be shown the wording of that petition – which I do not readily find on this page!

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Guest

Today,scamming news -15-9-2016-According to Dorset Police Economic Crime Unit ,s Det. Sergeant Andrew Kennard now over 100 people have been scammed in the area . They claim to be Talk-Talk or HMRC a 70 year old male in Wimborne lost £6000 due to Talk-Talk scam . Christchurch -based John+Elsie Smith lost £2500 to roof repairs, 91 year old male from Bournemouth lost £5000 to a man claiming to be a cop ,another Bournemouth resident lost £4000 to a funeral scam , 70 year old female ( Lymington ) lost £24000 to Visa scam. Talk-Talk has had 4 Million users data stolen , 86 reports of Talk-Talk scams in that area received by Dorset Police – reports Bournemouth Echo . This is getting International recognition as I found it on an International virus/scam/ tech website.

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Guest

As a matter of interest, did Dorset Police’s Economic Crime Unit report any success in apprehending perpetrators or recovering people’s money, or even any strengthening of resources for tackling these crimes?

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Guest

As a matter of fact they did report some success but I never took note of the details John , I should have .

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Guest

The Bournemouth Echo website was not much help [plastered with ads, pop-ups and videos making it virtually inaccessible!] but I found the main story on the Dorset Police website. Unfortunately it didn’t say what action the police were actually taking to deal with these despicable crimes. Coastal counties attract retired people [and Dorset’s are richer than most] and scammers must perceive them to be easy pickings, but it seems to be a nationwide problem for which the authorities have little in the way of a defence.

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Guest

John I got rid of 90 % of popups/ads/etc by installing many plug-ins , whether your browser will allow it is another thing. I have blank spaces to each side in most websites . It does have some pitfalls, some American websites block you from accessing them and some videos dont work , some websites just give basic script but you can change that on a per site basis . I cant access BT unless I allow tracking , for example, I dont have Flash Player of any type as its open house to hackers. Dorset Police , as you say, didnt go into detail about how they caught them and whether they were all charged .

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Thanks Duncan. I shan’t be investing in any blockers since I rarely stray outside a few reputable websites. I usually avoid newspaper sites because they pepper them with pop-ups to get some advertising income to compensate for the loss of hard-copy sales caused by the internet. I don’t usually complain as how else would I be able to read something in a Dorset newspaper?

So far as I could work out, Dorset Police have not yet caught anybody for scamming and all they can do is pass on warnings to their elderly and vulnerable residents.

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Guest

Life is funny John , one of my plug-ins is Ghostery , I have had my suspicions about it as it is run by a company connected to advertising much like our own official public “help ” organisation to report problems with advertising etc . Just hours after your post it was automatically updated to a new version . This new version seemed limited in what it could do but after several hours use it didnt seem to function showing zero trackers after my other blockers showed many . Try as I might I could not get it to function removing -re-installing etc and then a tab appeared from a much better sophisticated multi-blocker app , I clicked on it and surprise-surprise !! it was blocking Ghostery because the new version now had a major tracker installed Ghostery,s OWN tracker /server . I removed it from my PC . It just shows you ,as I say to many posters , more and more BB finds ways of tracking you but thats really tricky , an app to stop trackers installing its own big tracker and I clicked on I didnt want to give any data back to Ghostery , didnt make a blind bit of difference . So for those with Ghostery (a US company ) if you have been “upgraded” to version 7 then un-install it.

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Thames Valley police regularly make efforts to advise people – private and businesses – about crime, scams, online problems etc. They are currently in the middle of a 4 week programme “As part of our ongoing #ProtectYourWorld campaign, which aims to raise awareness of online crime and encourage people and businesses to take steps to protect themselves, a number of community events and live on-line discussions are scheduled to take place over the coming weeks.”

It might be very difficult to prosecute perpetrators but it is just as important – probably more so – to help people understand what goes on and protect themselves.

Guest
MAURICE TAYLOR says:
20 September 2016

Many thanks to Which for the recent email on safeguard from and spotting scams which is excellent and I have moved to a folder where I can keep and look at again, as it will not be deleted. Even though I consider myself to someone who is not very gullible I always welcome any further advice which is always welcome as this problem grows bigger every day.

Guest
Jackie says:
21 September 2016

I opened an email from apple the other day, thanking me for my purchase for music download and the sum of £23.00.
I know nothing of this and wondered if this might be a scam..is anyone aware of this??
Jackie

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Guest

Apple scams are common, but what you have there is a receipt. The usual tactic with those is to feature a link on them, and if you follow that you’re taken to a malicious site so – as always – don’t ever follow an email link. The only safe way is to use iTunes and go to ‘your account’ which connects directly with Apple and then you can verify if someone has sneaked an order through or not .

Guest
Wendy Cole says:
21 September 2016

I recently had an email purporting to be from Apple, I never use Apple so I didn’t open it. It stated something to the effect that it was an invoice and ‘thanking’ me for my custom.

Guest
Clive Chapman says:
22 September 2016

This morning there were 3 emails with sender ID being first names only, and companies I wasn’t familiar with and attachments. I deleted the attachments unopened. My assumption now is that if there is a legitimate need to contact me for delivery or payment and I delete the sender will persist in contacting me. That much alone will be enough for me to seek clear and familiar ID from them before I proceed.

Guest
Castle says:
22 September 2016

The emails were more likely to be attempts to download virus’s onto your system via the attachments. Over the last two weeks, I have received emails which claim to be from Barclays and Natwest asking me to download the latest interest rates from their attachment. (I’m not a customer of either).

Guest
Natalie Newman says:
23 September 2016

We need to be more careful about everything.
Never trust anyone when money is concerned.
ALWAYS make sure of the details AND circumstances.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Guest

Scammers will try any trick in the book but this shows even in Egypt they watch Which Technical Convo . I got an email from an Egyptian in regards to a “Perpetual Motion Machine- My “Friend ” my name is ******* ******* ****** I am not here to take your money- (sure you arent ) or selling you any kind of scam ( sure you are ) I am giving the whole world my Permanent Magnet Perpetual Engine – patent no- ************ kindly click on this link – and by the way it certainly looks kosher and doesnt look scamming . The problem with permanent magnets is that they lose magnetism over a long period and are certainly not “perpetual ” . Well “bless my soul ” ! I didnt click on the link but got another browser up and inputted the basic URL and got ?? – a Suez Canal Port Authority Company .

Guest

I pay no attention to e-mails I do not recognise.

RFB.

Guest
Rod H. says:
29 September 2016

I have always been told that one should NEVER give bank details in an email as they are not secure. How come solicitors for example, who ought to know better, ever do this?
In the early days of online mail order, for instance, firms would say ‘Put your order in by email but phone us with your card details, as that’s much more secure.’
May be it’s a case of prevention is better than cure. Though I agree banks should definitely be held to be more responsible for this type of fraud.

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Guest

In the US , cyber criminals who create a fake website to defraud consumers can be sent to prison for 5 years ( and 5 years means 5 years in the US ) and pay a $250,000 fine . And here ??? – still listening –silence . The difference ? the FBI and other US government bodies actually trace them and jail them .

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Guest

I must admit we don’t here about any fake website crimes in the UK. Is that because they are very few and far between, or because the perpetrators have evaded detection or are in a different jurisdiction, or because any crimes are not getting the investigative resources required? I don’t know what the UK penalties are on conviction but I doubt they would be as severe as in the USA. With a falling crime rate here and plenty of other attractive opportunities for scamming people by deception without actually needing to create a fake website perhaps this is just not such a major issue here.

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Guest

John while this convo is mainly about phone scamming other Which convo,s have been full of posters being scammed by clicking on a link and being taken in every case to a fake website where they again click on links to give out their monetary details . Very large sums of money have been lost , the advice given is- DONT click on links in emails but where is the UK Authorities ability to catch those thieves ? I would be grateful if our security forces who deal in cyber crime would turn their attention from helping BB and started helping Joe Public and provide actual data of the number of websites not just closed down but where THEY caught and fined the culprits who stole from the general public. Every day in the UK 100,s are scammed by that means – fake websites .

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Guest

Oooops!! Awful blunder in Line 1 of my preceding post. Please change “here” to “hear” to make sense of it.

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

You could be right Duncan but it doesn’t seem to get much reporting. I thought most of the related comments received in Which? Conversation were about genuine websites that misled people by deception [for example, passport applications]. Some still exist but they have had to make their warnings more prominent; so long as they do that they are not illegal it would seem.

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Guest

Duncan makes a good point. Perhaps companies need to change the ways in which they communicate with their customers, and leave all links out of their emails. HSBC, for instance, still include links and argue that the links only connect to their website front end. But I think they’re missing the point completely. So long as emails from companies contain any links at all people will drop their guard over links in emails generally.

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Guest

I totally agree, Ian. Companies insert links in e-mails to propel people into their websites and stop them wandering away into the next item in their inbox, but they are potentially the most harmful feature of the system. It only takes a few seconds longer to go the long way round but it’s so much safer. So long as the navigation instructions are clear in the e-mail there should be no problem.

I think these links are a throwback to the early days of home compting when the internet was a much safer place and when people appreciated the convenience of a link rather than typing long URL’s into browsers. You can just start typing a name in now, a choice quickly appears, and in two or three clicks you are there safely.

Guest
Dave Over says:
8 October 2016

I have received a number of emails from banks which looked liked potential phishing emails. In each case I forwarded then to the bank and didn’t reply to them. If they had been genuine the bank would have responded accordingly. They didn’t. Some were easy to spot, by checking the email address rather than what was displayed. Others were more sophisticated.

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Guest

Dave I know the ones you are talking about they tried it with me for years but I never answer them and only get a very occasional one from some young bedroom scammer . I get a laugh when they mention banks I dont belong to , you shouldnt get emails from your bank ,I have never had one from mine ,but I dont have online banking so that sinks them all.

Guest

It would be really helpful if Which? could print/post details on how to check email headers in the main email services – Hotmail/Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo!, etc. That way you can more easily tell whether the email is from who the displayed name is claiming to be, or not.
– In Outlook/Hotmail – hover the mouse over the sender’s name, and it will show the sending email address. If the name does not match the sending email address, be suspicious as it is likely fraud, phishing or spam.
– In Outlook/Hotmail – right click on the sender’s name – without opening the email – and select ‘View message source’ (be patient, it takes a few seconds to display). This will display all of the message header details, and you can search for the From: – it should be followed by lines for ‘Reply-To’ and ‘To’. Again, if it does not match the sender’s name be suspicious.
– I regularly do this before opening emails that I am not expecting, even from friends, and especially those in my junk/spam folder.
– In Gmail unfortunately you have to open the mail to find the header details: click on the down arrow that gives you ‘Reply’, ‘Reply To’, ‘Forward’, etc. options. The last option will display the header details.
If you want to report it to Which? or whichever company it claims to be from:
– Copy the header details (select all – Ctrl + a; copy it – Ctrl + c), select Forward in the mail you want to send, and then paste the header details (Ctrl + v) in and send.
– Alternatively, if possible, attach the original email to a blank/new email and send that. The email headers will remain in the original email. Just forwarding it will not provide them with enough details.
The above work on a PC/Mac, but I don’t know if it is possible on a phone or tablet, or in an app, but worth trying to find out if that is what you use.

Guest
Philip Geoffrey Thompson says:
4 February 2017

They still keep coming: But nothing is done by IP. How do you report this to anyone by e-mail?

[Sorry Philip, we can’t allow these links to be shared on Which? Conversation as they could be scams. You can report a phishing email to Natwest here phishing@natwest.com, or MBNA here abuse@bankofamerica.com. You can also report scams to Action Fraud here https://reportlite.actionfraud.police.uk/. Thanks, mods]