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The four money-making scams to watch out for this Autumn

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Written by: Emma Lunn
26/10/2022
UK Finance has warned the public to stay alert to fraud as people look for money-making opportunities to cope with the rise in the cost of living.

The trade body’s Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign found that more than half (56%) of the public said they are likely to look for opportunities to make extra cash in the coming months due to rising prices.

UK Finance warns that this could leave some people more susceptible to fraud. One in six (16%) Brits said the rising cost of living meant they are more likely to respond to an unprompted approach from someone offering an investment opportunity or a loan.

The study suggested that young people in particular were more likely to be at risk. A third (34%) of those aged 18 to 34 said they are more likely to respond to an unprompted approach from someone offering an investment opportunity or a loan. Just under a third (30%) of this group said they could be persuaded to provide their personal or financial details to secure the arrangement.

Overall, three in five (60%) people said they were concerned about falling victim to financial fraud or a scam. Recent figures from UK Finance showed that £609.8m was lost due to fraud and scams in the first half of 2022.

The scams to watch out for

  • Purchase scams 

Watch out for ‘too good to be true’ offers online. Criminals will often trick people into securing a bargain by enticing them to make a quick bank transfer rather than use a more secure payment method.

  • Impersonation fraud 

This is where criminals convince people to make a payment or give their personal and financial details to someone claiming to be from a trusted organisation such as a bank, government organisation or energy company. The information is then used to commit fraud.

  • Investment fraud 

In investment fraud, criminals try to convince people to move their money into a fictitious fund or to pay for what later turns out to be a fake investment. The criminal will often promise high returns to entice victims.

  • Payment in advance fraud

One example of advance payment fraud relates to loans, with criminals requesting up-front fees for loans which never materialise.

Stay alert

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “The rise in the cost of living can be worrying and stressful and for many keeping on top of finances might be a struggle. It’s important for everyone to be conscious of criminals taking advantage of people’s anxieties around finances by staying alert for fraud.

“We encourage everyone to follow the advice of the Take Five campaign – always be cautious of any messages or calls you receive and stop and think before sharing your personal or financial information. Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails or text messages.”

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “Scams continue to run riot, with victims suffering both financially and emotionally at the hands of criminal gangs, and helping consumers to be more aware of scams is very important.

“However, the sophistication of fraud is constantly evolving, yet victims of authorised push payment fraud still struggle to get their money back depending on who they bank with.

“The Payment Systems Regulator intends to make reimbursement mandatory in all but exceptional cases, which would ensure victims receive fairer and more consistent treatment. These proposals must be backed by strong enforcement where banks don’t comply.”

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