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Protecting you, your data and your money

Protecting you, your data and your money

No one should get complacent about fraud and scams – it can happen to anyone, at anytime, and often at the moment you’ve got other things on your mind. We’ve pulled together some information and pointers to help you keep one step ahead of the scammers.

What are the most common methods used by criminals?

In days gone by, con artists had to put in the legwork, going from door to door. Now it can all be done from the comfort of home – anywhere in the world:

  • Emails – mass emails are sent out in the hope that it seems relevant or relatable to one of the recipients. This is called ‘phishing’; the email is the worm-laden hook waiting for a bite. These emails can be made to look like those from genuine companies, to sound as if they’ve come from a friend or be downright rude and attempting blackmail. One thing they’ll likely have in common is they’ll all want your bank details and won’t address you by name.

  • Fake websites – sometimes criminals might leave you to stumble upon a fake website by changing the genuine company’s web address by one letter. You may also be directed to a fake website from a ‘phishing’ email, and when you look closely, the web address will look nothing like the company’s you think it came from.

  • Viruses and malware – these are spread by the criminal hoping you’ll click on a link in an email they’ve sent you, so they can connect to your computer. They can either steal passwords and data or they can ‘ransom’ your computer until you pay up.

  • Telephone calls – telephone scams tailed off for a while, once criminals realised how much more efficient email and web scams were. But with more people now at home, opportunists realise they’ll get more people answering – and interacting if they play on the current coronavirus pandemic. And along with calls to landlines, they can call and text your mobile too.

What are the scammers up to?

One of the latest coronavirus scams is criminals contacting people and pretending to be from the NHS Test and Trace Service. They are relying on the fact that, at the moment, you might not be surprised to get a call from the service, especially if you’ve visited a restaurant or pub where you’ve had to sign in. The important thing to remember is that a genuine caller from the NHS Test and Trace Service, will not:

  • ask for bank details or payments

  • ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media

  • ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone

  • ask you to call a premium-rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087.

 

Find out how to spot a scam and get helpful info with Citizens Advice.

What can we do to avoid getting drawn in?

It’s a horrid default position, but always being suspicious is the main line of defence. Anybody from a real company or organisation will not bat an eyelid at you checking their
identity or questioning their credentials, whether by phone or by email. And even then:

  • Know who you are talking to before you give out any personal information

  • Don’t click on unfamiliar links in emails or download files or software you don’t recognise

  • Don’t let anyone rush you or pressure you into making a decision

  • Make sure your passwords are strong and secure

  • Check the link or website uses an HTTPS connection with a padlock symbol at the start of the address bar

  • Update your anti-virus software.

There’s no single fail-safe answer on how to deflect a scam, but anything that can disrupt a fraudster’s flow could be enough to send them on their way. The UK’s national fraud
reporting service Action Fraud is very helpful and the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign has some sound advice:

  1. Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

  2. Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

  3. Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam, and report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

What is Saga doing to protect customers?

Saga has always taken its own and its customers’ online safety very seriously indeed. We’re never complacent and vigorously protect our website to maintain security for everyone. If you’d like to know more, we have some general advice here, and there is more information specifically regarding Saga Savings here.