It would be very easy for us to start this blog post by bombarding you with monotonous statistics regarding how much fraudulent activity takes place in the UK each year.  However, we will provide you with an insight into what we all have to be aware of with on a daily basis, and crucially what preventative steps you should take to protect yourself and your family and friends from becoming a victim of fraudulent activity.

While fraud has existed for quite literally hundreds of years, we as a society evolve with innovative and disruptive technology; it is natural that fraud evolves and gets more sophisticated with it. And, the criminals behind these activities stop at no lengths in developing the different ways to ensure they deceive their way to your hard-earned financial assets. So, what exactly can you do to protect yourself from being another statistic and victim of fraudulent activity?

Be Vigilant

To start off with, there is a straightforward principle, and that is to be vigilant when it comes to your accounts. When it comes to fraud, being paranoid about it can be the ideal solution.  It may sound a little bit overkill but being aware of potential risks can make the difference between being a victim or not.

You may have read in the press recently about the story of fraudsters who used vishing techniques with the objective of defrauding businesses and consumers alike. The tactic that they used here was to pretend they were contacting you from your bank, with the objective of obtaining your personal security information. Once they secured the information they needed to perform the crime, they would wipe out their victim of everything they possibly could. In this case, it led to multiple businesses going bankrupt and families being left in shatters. However, through pure greed on the criminals’ part, coupled with the hard work of our intelligence and police force, they were caught and sentenced with criminal offences. However, anyone could have been become a target of this of type fraud, especially as there were some bank employees who were passing on personal information to the fraudsters in exchange for some of the money they stole.

More sophisticated methods of fraud such as identity theft are unfortunately still a very common occurrence, while more basic fraud types such as pickpocketing, vishing, doorstep and ATM fraud/theft are taking place more and more across the country and especially in city centres and urban areas. As a route of fraud prevention, if you do get a call that you are not expecting from your bank, then contact them directly to verify that the information you have received is correct. Another important step to take is to keep up to date with common scams and typical warning signs. This can be as easy as regular searching for the topic online or reading a financial newspaper.

Other Best Practices

Other best practices are always to keep your personal information as confidential as you possibly can, even if this means not sharing it with your immediate family or friends. Change your credit/debit card PINs and your passwords on a regular basis. Securely destroy of any unneeded financial documents. Regularly take a close look over your bank accounts and statements and utility bills for unusual activities and transactions. Talk to and educate your family members and close friends about fraud and how they can prevent becoming a victim of it. Make sure that you report any suspicious activity or concerns to your bank or the authorities if you believe you are a victim of fail play. Order your credit report from one of the credit reference agencies, as this will give a detailed overview of all of your bank accounts, allowing you to keep an eye on everything, and that it looks as it should be. Most importantly and in order to keep yourself safe, make sure you are vigilant at all times.