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.