Jacob Watts and Hannah Sensier-Davis of NatWest focused on four main areas of scam activity – postal, telephone, doorstep and online – and emphasised that, though 53 per cent of victims are aged over 65, every age group is at risk.
The scammers are well-trained in telephone conversation techniques, appearing helpful, friendly and knowledgeable as they seek to gain their victim’s trust, though they can also be very aggressive and threatening.
Scamming techniques such as smishing have become more sophisticated, scammers sending texts which look as though these are on the same thread as genuine messages, including from the target’s bank.
This makes it easier to persuade targets to click on links which will download malware and enable fraudsters to access victims’ bank details.
Similarly, vishing involves making phone calls or leaving voice messages purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as bank details and credit card numbers, and even tech-savvy people can be caught out.
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Victims often become trapped in a cycle with their details being passed on to other fraudsters who continually target them.
Behaviour associated with victims includes frequent post-office visits and stamp purchase and an increasing number of cheques written; additionally, the volume of mail received by victims increases.
The advice to remember when confronted by what appears to be a scam is to never disclose security details or assume that the message is genuine, trust your instincts and stay in control.
Help is available from your bank and Citizens Advice. Visit the Scam Academy online, and don’t forget the Little Book of Big Scams!
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