HOW TO DODGE FRAUD
Be suspicious of any unsolicited emails, texts or calls you receive requesting financial or sensitive information — such as emails purporting to be from your bank, credit card company, energy provider, solicitor, tax office, or any company you are a customer of. Be wary of requests to pay for something using itunes vouchers, as this is a tactic often used by fraudsters. Be careful about clicking links, attachments or banners in your email or on the internet if you’re not sure of their true origin — as malicious software, known as ransomware, could be downloaded onto your computer if you do so.
“With ransomware, fraudsters often target senior management within multinationals or State bodies,” said Patrick D’arcy of Grant Thornton. “If someone falls for the trap, the ransomware provides the fraudster with access to all that individual’s emails.” Should there be sensitive information in any of these emails, the fraudster will have access to it. Be aware of, and careful about, the information you’re posting on various social media sites.
“A lot of the answers to the security questions you’re asked when accessing your bank account could be on Linkedin, Facebook and so on,” said Niamh Davenport of the BPFI.
Linkedin, for example, will have details of your work. Facebook could have personal information, such as your birthday or your pet’s name. Be careful too about how you interact with your bank and utility company’s Twitter pages.
“If you go onto your bank’s Twitter page, limit your questions to low-level queries like the bank’s opening hours,” said Davenport. “Don’t ask personal queries. Fraudsters are trawling Twitter for these personal queries — and if you make one, you may then get a call from someone who claims to be from your bank and says they’re following up on your query on Twitter.” You’re more prone to fall for a scam if you are under time pressure — so never divulge personal or financial details, or transfer money to another account, when you’re busy or rushed.
“Fraudsters will always create a sense of urgency,” said Davenport. “Before you do anything, stop and think — take your time and don’t feel under pressure. If you get an email from a supplier asking you to pay money into a different account, ring your supplier and verbally confirm that their bank details have changed.
“If it’s your bank calling you about a fraud in the bank or unusual transactions on your account, hang up the phone, and ring the number at the back of your bank card or credit card to check that what you’ve been told is true — but be sure you hear a dial tone when you make that call.” Contact your bank or card company immediately if you suspect, you have fallen for a scam.
“Time is of the essence with fraud,” said Davenport. “If you have authorised the transfer of money out of your account, if your bank gets to it on time, it may be able to stop the transfer.
“However once the money is gone out of your account, there’s nothing there for the bank to refund.”