Monday, 20 December 2021
Online Fraud and Scams
Speaker: Kay Bainbridge
On Thursday 2nd December 2021, Kay Bainbridge, who works for West Yorkshire Police spoke about 'How to Avoid Online Fraud & Scams' for Todmorden u3a members. Prior to the meeting, literature on this subject including telephone numbers to ring and report fraud, had been circulated to members.
Beginning with Online Shopping Fraud, Kay said we should use credit cards whenever possible if shopping online, and avoid bank transfers. We were reminded that criminals use the anonymity of the internet to offer goods for sale which either don't exist or are fake. While shopping on a particular site, we should stay on that site, rather than opening the 'pop ups' that may appear on screen.
Romance Fraud was described, where lonely victims form online friendships with people who, initially seeming genuine, honest and friendly, are actually criminals who persuade them to send money for a variety of bogus reasons. Kay advised not rushing into an online relationship, checking that the person is who they say they are, and telling friends and relatives what's going on.
Identity Theft is used to obtain goods and services in another person's name, along with other personal details. Care is needed when discarding letters. We should also beware of cold calls, and simply hang up the phone if we are unsure of who is calling – even if this seems impolite and is against our nature.
Lottery Fraud is usually a story that we have won a raffle, or draw, but a fee is payable to forward the winnings. We must remember that, to win a lottery, you have to buy a ticket – but this fraud is still one of the most commonly practiced.
More familiar terms in Kay's next item - Illegal Money Lending and 'Loan Sharks'. People need to be authorised by the FCA to act as money lenders. Illegal lenders often work from home, charge high interest rates, and issue very little paperwork. People who fall victim to loan sharks pay very high interest, often have their property taken in lieu of payment, and suffer threats and/or violence.
Investment Fraud criminals target retired people, particularly men, who may have received a pension, or lump sum, on retirement. The victim is offered a high return within a short time by investing in one of a variety of completely non-existent schemes or plans – again this crime succeeds regularly. The victim will be contacted repeatedly to wear them down, and should tell their family and friends what is happening, hang up on cold calls, and never part with any money.
People who have fallen victim to Investment Fraud, or indeed any type of fraud, may subsequently be contacted by someone telling them that their money can be returned. This is known as Recovery Fraud, perhaps even committed by the original criminal, saying that the victim's money has been recovered, but another payment is needed to reunite it with the victim. Kay's advice: End the call, check what's been said, and again tell friends and family what is happening.
Last on the list was Courier Fraud. Someone posing as a police officer or bank worker rings up, and tells the victim that a fraudulent payment has been seen in the victim's bank account, and they have to let him/her know. They ask the victim to ring back on the number on the back of their debit card. The aim is for them to take possession of your bank card and pin number, saying a courier will collect them from you. The police, and your bank, will never call you to ask you to verify your personal details or PIN by phone, or offer to pick up your card by courier. Hang up if you get a call like this.
We received advice about passwords, such as making them memorable and, if possible, having passwords made from three random words. Passwords should not be stored on a computer and should be kept out of the sight of other people.
A vote of thanks was made for the presentation, and the literature sent prior to the meeting. After a question and answer session, the informative and enjoyable meeting ended.
The next Todmorden U3A Monthly Members Meeting by Zoom will be on Thursday 20th January 2022 at 1.45 p.m. open to all fully paid-up members. Our speaker will be Sheila Antrobus talking about The Art Deco Era
Not yet a member? You can attend one talk free by requesting an invitation to this zoom event. We're always delighted to welcome new members. Contact details: website at www.u3atod.org.uk or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to Colin Sanson for this report
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