Protect Your Pennies! Mind Your Millions!

A guide on how to best protect yourself this Christmas and into 2016

With Christmas just around the corner this is not just the season to be jolly, but to be aware and alert. Millions of shoppers rushing around strapped with cash with purchases on their mind is a fraudsters dream. But it could soon become your nightmare when that January statement acts as the worst gift you will ever receive through the post.

Here are some top tips on how to stay one step-ahead of any tactical trickster.


ATM machines

We’ve all done it. We’ve probably even done it today. Your in a hurry & the ATM is free so what do you do? You rush to the contraption & put your card in and bop off when you’ve got your cash right? Wrong.

Always be on the lookout at an ATM and never willingly approach every one as though you expect everything to always be kosher. A way any fraudster can get their hands on your cash is simply by lurking around in the background preying on your pin. No one there? Well look at the machine! Some are fitted with small cameras used to film your card and pin only to be removed and used later unsuspectingly (insert the repeated phrase “always cover your pin” here).

Another clever way for fraud is to place a complete look-a-like framework over the ATM itself so to you it looks like any other cashpoint. However, your card is strangely swallowed and albeit disgruntled you think not too much of it, until at the end of a hard-days ‘work’ the frame is removed to reveal a card capturing device. There are also instances of the actual port where you input your card is removable, which can capture or store your card details or even the card itself. Always rub the tips of your fingers on the insert of entry and if you feel any ridges or anything other than a smooth surface retreat!

If your money doesn’t come out of a machine or your card gets stuck suspiciously, report the fault or lost card ASAP to either the bank and/or police on 101.


Online Shopping

Purchasing online is a growing trend but, like any other form of giving your personal details it is all about security and awareness. Never give your card or credit details to a website that you wouldn’t normally give to a shop or trusted human being carrying out the transaction for you.

Never give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not completely sure they’re legitimate. When in doubt get out!

A Nigerian Prince you have never heard of asking you for money? Please.

Clear examples are the desperately clever emails that inform you of a winning or cash refund such as the oh-so impersonated HMRC. A very common addition to the nation’s inbox is an email that appears to be from HMRC informing of a tax refund of which you would simply need to click on a link and insert your card details… don’t do it! According to;
“HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will never use texts or emails to:
• tell you about a tax rebate or penalty
• ask for personal or payment information”

Email or check HMRC’s guidance on recognising a scam if you are ever in doubt.


Courier Scam

Our parents were never wrong when they informed us as children to never talk to strangers, and this could not apply greater than with the Courier Scam. We’ve heard the stories, we’ve watched the reports and we’ve winced at the woes of poor pensioners who have simply put – been robbed in broad daylight!

In brief the courier scam details a fraudster (or fraudsters) calling you on the telephone or arriving at your very front door tricking you into handing over your card and/or PIN numbers to a courier. With variations of the scam that can include impersonations of the police, bank members of staff and more.

The process usually goes along the lines of a call claiming to be from your bank or even the police of which they explain a predicament that you are involved in. This can be anything from a fraudulent payment on your card or someone at the bank itself who is involved in an investigation where your bank details need to be protected.

If on the telephone, they may try and prove the legitimacy by suggesting you hang up and call the bank/police back, but unbeknownst to you they never even hang up the line! Instead they stay on the phone and impersonate a new call which is of course the very same person you spoke too.

F.Y.I if in doubt with someone always hang up the telephone and call using another device. If they are claiming to be from the bank always call a trusted number or most importantly the number on the back of YOUR debit card.

Your details are then gained with this new ‘trusted’ voice and a courier is arranged to collect your card or bank details at your very front door. The worst part about this all is that you have helped to facilitate the fraud by willingly handing over your details. This of which can effect your claim when reporting to the bank to get the very funds you worked hard for back.

Always remember a bank will never send a courier to your home and additionally the police will never collect your bank card or ask for your pin!

Christmas or no Christmas, your hard earned pennies deserved to be exactly that – YOUR hard earned pennies (in some cases thousands or hundreds of thousands). Stay alert and if you ever have any doubts there isn’t any harm done in refusing. What loss is a cheeky discount compared to your monthly, yearly or even lifelong earnings…


Contacts and Info

• To report fraud contact your bank immediately.
• To report fraud contact Action Fraud on 03001232040.
• If in danger contact 999 otherwise report to 101.
• For advice contact Citizens Advice or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 (English language) or 08454 04 05 05 (Welsh language) from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
• Insurance Fraud? Contact Cheatline on 0800 422 0421
• To report crime get in touch with Crimestoppers. Anyone can call 0800 555 111, anonymously, 24-hours a day, to pass on information about crime.


Further questions, email Rakeem

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