Ever been the victim of fraud? The government is revamping its Action Fraud website to help. If you've been scammed, finance expert Marianne Curphey explains what you should do.

Suspicious phone calls?

If you’ve ever had a suspicious phone call or a dodgy email urging you to transfer money to a different account, then you are not alone.

According to the Money Advice Service, the government’s independent advice website, there has been a huge increase in telephone fraud. MAS revealed last year that there are now eight scam phone calls made to the people in the UK every second.

It said the majority of UK consumers had been targeted, with 43% of people having received a suspicious call within a month.

Now the government is organising a revamp of the Action Fraud website, which is designed to help people who have been victims of financial fraud.

 

Common scams

The most common scams are when criminals persuade people to transfer money into different accounts, hand over their bank cards, reveal personal information, or pass on their PIN number.

Action Fraud was set up five years ago to help victims of fraud, and now the government is spending £35 million on improving the website to help the growing number of people who have lost money as a result of these scams.

Users of the Action Fraud website will be able to see how their case is progressing, as well as view the latest scams around the UK through crime-mapping.

 

What to do if you are a victim of fraud

1. Report the crime to the police. Many people are embarrassed to admit to falling for a telephone or email scam, but this is the first step in trying to get your money back.

2. If you have a credit card and you are defrauded after paying for an item using a card, then you might be able to use the protection available under Section 75 of the UK Consumer Credit Act 1974. The item must have cost between £100 and £30,000 and be paid for by a credit card.

3. If your card is stolen, you will probably only be liable for the first £50 of any unauthorised withdrawals or purchases as long as you tell your card provider immediately.

4. Check your insurance policies—you may have some cover from your card protection or home, travel or legal expenses insurance.

 

New frauds to be aware of:

“Bumpers”

In a busy place like a bus, train, bar or restaurant someone “bumps” into you and takes money from your contactless card without you even being aware of it.

The technology within a contactless card which allows you to make payments up to £30 without signing or inputting your PIN number can also enable a fraudster to take money. They take payment without you knowing, although they would need to press up against your bag or wallet for a few sections in order to make the transaction.

 

“Social media harvesters”

Your social media profile may reveal your birthday, your mother’s maiden name, your pets and siblings and where you went to school or college and the cars you have loved and driven.  However, these are answers to common security questions for banks and card companies.

Make sure your privacy settings are tight and that you don’t befriend people you don’t really know who might be visiting your account to harvest your personal information.

 

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