Six of the most sophisticated scams that have defrauded tens of thousands of people, and how to spot them


Six of the most sophisticated scams that have defrauded tens of thousands of people, and how to spot them

SCAMMING ON THE INTERNET is now more sophisticated than ever, with sophisticated online’schools’ teaching con artists how to defraud unsuspecting victims of billions of dollars.

Online fraud cost the UK £2.6 billion last year, according to experts, and the problem has worsened during the pandemic, with more people filing complaints with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

And it’s not just the elderly and vulnerable who are at risk.

Fraudsters are now taking online classes to learn how to deceive us from all sides.

Here, we’ll show you how to protect yourself from some of the latest online scams…

SCAMMERS impersonating a son or daughter in need and asking their families for financial help on WhatsApp has increased, according to consumer watchdog Which?

Between August and October last year, Action Fraud received 25 reports of the scam, with victims losing nearly £50,000.

The con artists pose as the victim’s child and claim to be texting from a new phone because their own has been lost or damaged.

They then demand money to buy a new phone or claim they have a bill to pay.

“To spot a scam like this, try to contact the family member who appears to be contacting you from the number you originally saved on your contacts list — not the ‘new’ number that has contacted you out of the blue,” says Jonny Sabinsky of budgeting expert think-money.

Scammers posing as reputable companies are sending text and email alerts to gain access to your personal information on everything from TV subscriptions to banking apps.

They may request that you download another banking app in order to generate a one-time password in order to authorize a payment, or they may claim to be your bank intercepting a fraudulent payment made from your account.

“If a text comes in from Sky, Amazon, or your bank, you don’t think it’s a scam,” Jonny says.

“However, fraudsters use this to gain access to customer accounts and steal money.”

“Scammers will frequently contact you directly over the phone, via SMS or email, posing as a company you are familiar with.

“Keep in mind that large, reputable businesses will never ask for your one-time passcode to authorize a payment, so this is a major red flag to be aware of.”

“Spelling errors in the message, a phone number that isn’t the same as the one on your bank card, a link that takes you to another website, or addressing you as Sir or Madam rather than your full name are all red flags.”

“Cryptocurrency is a hot topic right now,” JONNY says.

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