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Can You Spot a Scam? 9 in 10 Get Duped

  • People are overconfident in their ability to spot a scam
  • More sophisticated schemes make it harder to protect yourself from fraud
  • Tips on what to avoid
  • How good are your scam spotting skills?
Very few people can spot if their emails and texts are scams, according to research. Image: Getty
Very few people can spot if their emails and texts are scams, according to research. Image: Getty

Less than one in ten people can spot a scam email or text, research shows.

A study from the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign found that people are overconfident in their ability to spot a scam, which is putting their money at risk.

Despite 80% of people surveyed believing they can spot a scam, only 9% scored full marks in a test set by the campaign.

The test presented users with a series of emails and texts, and asked them to say if they were fake or not.

Elements included a text asking recipients to transfer money into a safe account and an email asking the receiver to click on a link.

Consumers are warned to do neither of these things, and they are signs that the email or text is a scam.

In just the first six months of 2017, £366.4 million was lost to financial fraud, and an extra £101.2 million was lost through authorised bank transfer schemes, according to figures from UK Finance.

New safety concerns have been raised since the introduction of Open Banking in the UK, which allows you to give out your personal financial information to third parties.

It is now easier for people to share their financial information, such as through apps, but this gives scammers more avenues to try and get your money.

Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said, “Criminals are using very sophisticated methods, so it’s more important than ever that people are aware of how to protect themselves from fraud.

“We want to spread the message that you should always question any calls, texts, or emails asking for your details out of the blue.

“If you are unsure, then contact the organisation directly on a number that you trust.”

Here are tips from the Take Five campaign to help you spot fraud:

  1. A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your Pin, full password, or to move money to another account.
  2. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust, and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
  3. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  4. If you’re approached with a request for personal information, do not provide it. Instead, contact the company directly, using a known email or phone number.
Want to test your scam spotting skills? Take the test here.
Comments+20 points

Very useful info, thank you. I'm always getting dodgy emails!


Got them all right - do I win £5?

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