As eCommerce-related online fraud continues to creep its way into our every day, Wethrift’s founder Nick Drewe shares the common types of circulating fraud and how consumers can avoid falling victim to them.
A recent Barclays report has revealed how the average bank scam totals a £980 loss, and that the prevalence of these scams has been steadily rising over the last three months.
A shocking 53 per cent of these scams involved buying goods online that never arrive or didn’t exist in the first place. With the average loss being considerable, the level of scams being reported has risen 17 per cent in the last three months alone.
Whilst eCommerce continues to pick up the pace, with the sector forecast to grow from $4.9trillion in 2021 to $7.5trillion by 2026, it’s expected that crime associated with the practice will also increase. The Arkose Labs report points to online fraud within UK eCommerce being as high as 85 per cent.
In light of this Nick Drewe, founder of the discounts platform Wethrift, is warning online shoppers to be wary of banks scams as fraudsters are becoming increasingly manipulative.
Here Drewe shares the common types of circulating fraud and how you can spot them to avoid being a victim of scams.
- Text messages: Often scammers will use text messages to warn that you have either had someone try to withdraw money from your account or that there is a problem with your account.
There will then be a link to click on to resolve the issue. Clicking on the link and/or entering any personal information can immediately make it easier for hackers to breach your accounts.
- Phone calls: A phone call is usually something security-related, for example telling you someone has hacked your bank account or that you’ve been a victim of identity fraud.
Drewe says: “Authorised push payment scams can be really effective as fraudsters can easily ‘spoof’ phone numbers, meaning calls or text messages will look like they’re coming from your bank when it’s not actually your bank contacting you.
“If you are contacted and asked for details like your PIN, email password or 16-digit debit card number, do not give them out. Whilst the scammer may already know some personal information about you already, having these extra details will make it a lot easier for them to hack into your account.”
How to Spot Bank Scams
“Remember that your bank or the police will never call to ask you for your PIN number or full banking password, ask you to withdraw or transfer money to any other account, or send someone to your home to collect cash, a PIN number, cards or cheque books,” Drewe explains.
“So if you are asked to do this, it is an instant red flag. This also applies to Monzo, which would never call you without arranging it through in-app chat first.
“It will also never ask you to share any sensitive information about yourself or your account, or move your money out of Monzo and into a different account – and a real bank will definitely never tell you to take out a loan.”
How To Avoid Becoming a Victim of Online Fraud
- Set strong passwords
The best way to avoid hackers finding their way into your accounts is by setting strong bank passwords that are not predictable, for example your date of birth or family names. To make your passwords more secure use a mix of lowercase and uppercase, numbers and make them 12 characters long.
It is important to also never store passwords somewhere that they can be easily accessed by anyone else, like your notes page on your phone or computer. Keep your details written down on documents securely locked away.
- Do your research on a company
If you are purchasing car insurance or making a large (or small) purchase, always do some research on the company or website you have come across.
It is helpful to check out their social media profiles and look into the reviews and ratings. You can also look to see whether they have a business address and landline number. This verification check must be done before you even think about disclosing your personal information.
- Be aware of a site URL
When shopping online, always check the website address to make sure you are on a legitimate site. The address should begin with ‘https.’ and there should be a locked padlock symbol that appears on the URL bar.
As well as this, sign up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code when given the option. This process involves registering a password with your card company, which will add a further layer of security when you are shopping online.
- Make sure your internet connection is secure
Your home Wi-Fi should always be protected with a password. When using public wireless networks, such as in a library or cafe, be mindful about what information you are submitting on these as hackers can access your data much easier on an unprotected network.