Where there is easy money to be made, you will always find someone wanting to steal it from you. It appears some scams are “back”, although to be honest, we doubt if they went away in the first place.
They probably lay fallow for a short time to allow people to forget everything they had been taught to watch out for. Some appear to be back with a vengeance, and in the run up to Christmas, you can bet anything they will hit you as hard as they can, if possible.
People call them scams, but we see them simply as stealing, because that is what it comes down to. Those who operate scams are trying to steal your hard-earned cash in one way or another, and are relying on you to slip up in some way, thus giving them a way in.
Some of our staff for example, have recently received emails purported to be from HMRC, telling them their refund is waiting to be paid. They just need to click on the link provided, enter bank details and hey presto! Now, when has HMRC ever written to you in the past to tell you a refund is pending? Never, and in all likelihood, it never will happen either. You always have to write to HMRC and claim money back, and usually you have to work hard and have patience to receive said money.
A similar thing is e-mails looking like they are from your bank, telling you your account has been locked and asking you to reply with your account details to resolve the issue. However, because these scams are not intelligent enough, most of these e-mails will appear to be from banks with whom you have never had any dealings with. Once again, clearly fake.
If you receive any suspicious e-mails or phone calls, in all likelihood it is a scam and you should therefore not disclose anything personal. Where anyone asks you for your bank details, PINs or passwords, it almost certainly is a scam and that person is trying to steal your money. No bank in the UK will ask you for all details at any time – specific ones yes, as they will already have some on file. If in doubt, hang up and speak to the bank or company in question by you phoning them. That way, you know you are talking to the real deal.
It seems today these thieves are using online ticket sites to get your money, and don’t forget that social media is good territory for them as well as it provides them easy access to at least get started. Be careful in anything you do online, and don’t hesitate to stop sending money anywhere until you have checked things out. As soon as you press ‘Submit’ your money may very well be lost forever, so take a minute to think before you jump in. You know the old saying – act in haste, repent at leisure.
For further information on any aspect of financial advice and how MAP may be able to assist you, please contact us on 0345 241 1808 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.