How to avoid falling for fake link scams

Promotional feature with Take Five

Faced with an overstuffed inbox and checking emails and texts on the go, it’s easy to skim-read and flick through without really paying attention. Confirmation of a spa appointment, invite to drinks with friends… and a message about a movie purchase you didn’t make on iTunes. Don’t they know you’re more The Devil Wears Prada than The Devil’s Advocate?

So you click through the link, reach a website that looks exactly as you expect it to – iTunes branding, Apple logo, suggestions of other movies you might like – tick the box that says Not Your Order? and pop your bank details in to reclaim the cash. That should be the end of it, but it’s not.

Later on, you check your bank account and feel a sick thud in the pit of your stomach as you realise it’s been practically emptied. You call your bank in a panic but it’s too late – a scammer’s siphoned the money from your account using the personal and financial details you gave them on the movie website you now realise wasn’t legit.

You might think it’s easy to spot a fake message but fraudsters are getting ever more sophisticated in order to get you to part with your information. It’s now incredibly common to be invited to click on links or files in unexpected emails or texts. As well as fake movie and music purchases, there are scam emails about TV license refunds you’re supposedly due and realistic-looking speeding fines.

Fraud isn’t just something that happens to your Nan these days – everyone is a target. It’s estimated that someone becomes a victim of financial fraud every 15 seconds and that the UK loses £2 million a day to scammers*.

The Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign aims to help us all recognise how fraudsters operate and feel confident enough to challenge them, whether it’s an email, text or phone call that doesn’t feel quite right.

Don’t be tricked into giving a scammer access to your personal or financial details. Rather than automatically clicking through, if you’re not sure the email or text is authentic, don’t give your details or provide access to your money. A genuine bank or trusted organisation will never ask for your full PIN, password or to move money to another account. Stop, think, and then remind yourself of this simple phrase: My money? My info? I don’t think so!

Smart ways to stop the scammers

  • The text says one thing but the URL might go somewhere else. Try hovering over the link to see where it’ll really take you.
  • Email that says it’s from your bank? Don’t click through the link – instead, type the bank’s URL into your browser so you know you’re on a secure site. If you’re unsure, contact the bank directly using a known email or phone number.
  • Keep putting off those browser updates? Don’t. Always install the latest software, app and browser updates as they help protect you from being hacked whether on your smartphone or your tablet.
  • If there’s any doubt in your mind, contact the company using a trusted email address or phone number.
  • Find out if you’re savvy enough not to be scammed by taking the Too Smart to be Scammed quiz.

Find out more about the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign from Financial Fraud Action UK and the UK Government, backed by the banking industry.

 

*Financial Fraud Action UK Data 2016.

 

Advertisement

Reading now

Popular