All of us are relatively positive that we can spot a scam online or over the telephone and yet, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) latest ‘Crime Survey for England and Wales’ reveals just how effective the scammers are.
There were an estimated 4.4 million fraud offences of all types and yet the figures from the police and other bodies such as the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) showed just 730,765 offences, a rise of about 2,000 from 2019 suggesting that just 16.6% of frauds are being reported.
Turning to cybercrime, the ONS’ Telephone operated Crime Survey for England and Wales
(TCSEW) estimated 1.7 million offences to the end of September.
One of the most ‘popular’ scams at the moment preys on the rise in internet ordering linked to home delivery. The Royal Mail scam relies on people expecting a delivery, who receive a text claiming that a parcel is awaiting delivery by Royal Mail. The text claims that a notional sum needs to be paid before delivery can be made. If the link is pressed it goes to a Royal Mail lookalike site, which then asks for personal and payment details. The result – another stolen identity.
It is not just Royal Mail but also any of the well known courier firms which are servicing the growth of online shopping whose sites are being mocked up. The key to a successful scam is how plausible it seems, as in this case.
Police and anti-fraud offices’ advice centres on a few key areas where we as individuals can protect ourselves.
Lastly, let’s all use our common sense. If in any doubt as to the authenticity of a website purporting to be from a service provider, particularly ones supposedly from our banks, make a phone call or check the web address you have been asked to connect to and compare it with the one on their main website.
We will be doing other features on combatting fraudulent scams and helping you to stay safe.