If you think you know what you are doing when making financial decisions, new research suggests you should think again.
Most people believe they are smart enough to spot a fraudster.
In a recent survey for the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, 80% of people asked believed they could identify a scam.
But only 9% of 63,000 taking part in the campaign’s Take Five Too Smart To Be Scammed? test managed to score top marks, revealing a worrying gap between what people believe they know about con-artists and the reality.
The quiz asks people to look at several emails and texts and to decide if they are from a genuine financial organisation or a fraudster.
How the fraudsters work
The scenarios include an email pointing out that a bank account had a security breach and requested money should be immediately transferred to a safe account.
Banks never ask this, says the campaign, but many people fall for the ploy and lose their money to fraudsters who control the ‘safe’ account.
Another email poses as a message from a trusted financial firm and asks the recipient to click on a link to visit a web page.
The click sets off a malware download that allows fraudsters to steal personal and financial information from a computer.
The campaign says never click on an email link if you have not checked the email is genuine.
How to keep your money safe
“A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account,” said a Take Five to Stop Fraud spokesman.
“Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
“Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
“Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
“Just because someone knows your basic details, such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name, it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud.”