/ Money, Technology

Companies must do more to safeguard us from scams

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With online scams becoming ever more sophisticated and one case being reported every minute, are businesses doing enough to safeguard us from scams?

I wasn’t born with an iPhone in my hand, but I suppose I would be classed as a ‘Millennial’. I now bank online; I communicate mainly through email and text message; and nearly all my purchases are made online. But this isn’t just the ‘Millennial’ way. We’re all increasingly moving in this direction.

And it’s great – I can sit back, cup of tea in hand and pay my monthly bills. Or even make that last-minute purchase as I dash to work at the tap of an app. Buy with one click, payment details saved, delivered to my door in 24 hours. It’s easy, quick and fits in around my life.

But the online romance has hit a major bump in the road.

Scam attempt every six seconds

Our latest research, in a representative survey of the UK population, found that six in ten people say they’ve been targeted by an online scam in the last year. In fact, it’s estimated that a scam is attempted every six seconds. By the time you’ve finished reading this post, approximately 33 scams will have been attempted.

The most common scams include phishing emails purporting to be from their banks, phishing messages seeking money for services and bogus computer support.

John was hit by a banking scam:

‘I noticed a £1,800 transaction on my bank account and immediately reported it. The bank’s fraud team sent me two texts confirming my money had been refunded and a new debit card was on its way. I then received another text from the same number saying I needed to call the fraud team about more activity on my account. I called and spoke to a very professional sounding person. I was even asked the same security questions my bank had asked a few days earlier.’

£53,000 was then taken from John’s bank account. And although we’re pleased to say that John eventually got his money back, it’s a chilling example of just how clever and believable scams can be.

Safeguard us from scams

Although I was confident, I now worry that I’ve been naïve to trust companies to properly secure their services and protect me from online fraud. I’m not the only one – half of the people in our survey said they don’t use certain online products, services or apps for fear of being targeted by scammers.

In response, the government has established a Joint Fraud Taskforce to look at tackling financial fraud. But we think it can go further.

We’ve today launched our ‘Safeguard us from Scams’ campaign, where we’re calling on the government to investigate how seriously companies take their responsibility to protect customers from scams.

We all hear about the risks. Maybe we know someone who’s fallen victim or someone else who got lucky and smelled a rat just in time. We can and often do take sensible steps to protect ourselves – but when even the savviest of people can be scammed, it’s important that the government and businesses take their responsibilities seriously too. It’s time for them to step up and safeguard us all from scams.​

Our scams roadshow is taking our campaign around the country. Visit one of our locations to share your stories of fraud and get free advice on how to safeguard yourself from scams.

peter Young says:
26 September 2016

I think we should be careful what we wish for. Certainly cases in the news suggest banks could do more to check the bona fides of destination accounts. However nowadays when opening an account we have to jump through all sorts of hoops to prove we are who we say we are yet faudsters still manage to open accounts to operate all their nefarious activities. So will this all just result in making our lives more difficult when we need to send money to a friend or family member?

I didn’t rate the e-mail quiz much. On the information supplied, I would regard all those e-mails as suspicious though some are more dangerous looking than others. If there is a possibility that an organisation I deal with is contacting me, I hover the mouse pointer over the e-mail address and any links. In this way the true e-mail/link is revealed next to the mouse pointer or in the bottom left corner of the screen.

l often find that scam e-mails contain links including “tinyurl” in the address. Why is it so favoured by scammers? Should the industry / police be doing more to shut this down?


Peter last paragraph- it can , and is , used as a re-direction service , there is a long list of other apps like it. But if you go to Tiny URL,s website you can turn on their preview setting that tells you where you are going before you go there.- tiny url.com/preview.php?enable=1

JimDavidson says:
29 September 2016

It’s getting to the point you don’t know who you can trust. In life I have three people I only trust in the world and that’s my wife, and my two sons.
At this moment in time I have bought something from the states, it’s my first time and it will be my last time the item was costing me approx. $80 dollars. Time was going on I still haven’t got it as yet, this is now three weeks now but as I was saying $80 I check my bank the other day and I found different types of taxes border fees, boundary fees, and because thier are batteries with it and it was all ordered at the same time I have two lots of taxes because the company has decided it up to two packages so theirs about another $15 dollars been added to the items so I think it’s a Scam for more money, if at all it should have informed people that it would cost more than the price with all these taxes and boundaries fees.

Jon Aldridge says:
30 September 2016

It’s not just the fault of banks – businesses need to establish and encourage better practice too.
We rented a house for three years, during which time the – otherwise very professional – estate agent twice emailed us a generic message (unsigned, not addressed to us by name) asking us to change the standing-order by which we paid our rent, to go into their new account!
When I told them there was no way I’d respond to so vague and vulnerable a request they simply didn’t understand what the problem was!
Perhaps a code-of-conduct for businesses that could be used to encourage the public only to make payments when asked in a suitably “formal” and verifiable way might help.


Jon -that is an excellent point and something thats on my mind as well. More and more trained , intelligent and caring staff on all BB are being replaced by people trained only to answer the phone and provide a set ,programmed in , answers , as soon as it gets outside of those parameters they then have problems and either pass you on to a “supervisor/manager ” which takes another 15 minutes on the phone which is steadily building up charges . This is a “save money ” exercise for more profit reducing the amount of those taking responsibility for the actions of the firm ,as -how often have you heard – She didnt understand what you were saying or she isnt allowed to take responsibility for for the working/actions of our company . This is now reaching a peak where AI is about to take over , as I said to a poster RBS is trialling it out now, what that means is limited informational exchange further distancing the companies liabilities from the public , it wont go away as this is the latest “innovation ” from BB . The same applies when you try to contact a firm ,many on the Internet wont let you do it direct or obtusely dont provide all the means to do so lengthening out any legal contractual requirement so that it runs out before any action can legally be taken by the customer.

Brian Louden says:
11 October 2016

If you are unaware that your mobile phone and bank cards have been stole, what is the point of your bank ringing your mobile to check on unusual transactions? Are the fraudsters going to refuse to authorise their recent purchases using your bank card by texting “No” ?.Needless to say, my bank have not replied to this inept way of dealing with stolen bank cards.

stuart.redfearn says:
12 October 2016

Whilst I agree that banks need to do a lot more, people do as well. I can’t believe how easily people are fooled and give such private and confidential information away. “If in doubt stay out!!!”

Linda Badham says:
12 October 2016

I’m pretty aware when it comes to fraud but these scammers are very clever. I have been had twice but no more, I question every email I get , the bank is aware of my previous misfortunes and do help me more than ever.