How to avoid the fraud­ster trap


Coventry Telegraph - - YOUR MONEY -

IF SOME­ONE calling you out of the blue sounded like a “nice per­son”, would you be more likely to trust them? If the an­swer is yes, you could be fall­ing into a fraud­ster’s trap.

Here is how you can spot the sneaky tricks fraud­sters are us­ing to gain peo­ple’s trust and con them into hand­ing over per­sonal de­tails such as pass­words and pin num­bers.


LAST year, around £2m was lost ev­ery day to fi­nan­cial fraud – and with banks con­tin­u­ously in­vest­ing in se­cu­rity sys­tems to thwart fraud­sters, crim­i­nals are turn­ing to old-fash­ioned meth­ods to trick peo­ple into vol­un­tar­ily hand­ing over their per­sonal de­tails or even trans­fer­ring cash di­rectly into their bank ac­count.

They will sim­ply call their in­tended vic­tim – and per­suade them to hand over this in­for­ma­tion.

Fi­nan­cial Fraud Ac­tion UK (FFA UK), which works to fight fi­nan­cial fraud, has been work­ing with a speech pat­tern an­a­lyst – who found com­mon pat­terns in the lan­guage fraud­sters will use to try and gain peo­ple’s trust.

Dr Paul Breen found six pat­terns by lis­ten­ing to real-life scam phone calls.

The find­ings were re­leased as part of FFA UK’s Take Five cam­paign against fi­nan­cial fraud, which is backed by ma­jor banks and key fi­nan­cial ser­vices providers in the UK and encourages peo­ple to pause for thought be­fore do­ing some­thing they might later re­gret.

Here are the six lan­guage tricks he found:

1. Con artists will use snip­pets of in­for­ma­tion about you, gath­ered to­gether from dif­fer­ent sources, to sound like they know what they’re talk­ing about.

2. They will cre­ate a false bal­ance of power by us­ings­ing apolo­getic lan­guage for tak­ing up your time to make you feel sym­pa­thetic to­wards them.

3. They will stay pa­tient as they con­tinue to build up lay­ers of seem­ing au­then­tic­ity un­til you’re con­vinced they’re le­git­i­mate.

4. Fraud­sters may pose as some­one in author­ity such as a fraud de­tec­tion man­ager or a po­lice of­fi­cer in­ves­ti­gat­ing an on­go­ing crime.

5. On the whole, peo­ple claim to be cau­tious of trust­ing strangers with­out meet­ing them – one-inthree (38%) claim to “never re­ally trust any­one” when speak­ing over the phone – but the anal­y­sis sug­gests fraud­sters are well-pre­pared to get this re­ac­tion. Con­trary to what might be ex­pected, fraud­sters­frauds may wel­come your scep­ti­cism. But they will turn it into a weak­ness, by ac­knowl­edg­ing your con­cerns about be­ing se­cu­rity conscious.

6. A sign of a con may be the caller switch­ing tempo and in­creas­ing or de­creas­ing the pres­sure by cre­at­ing a false sense of ur­gency or us­ing un­der­stand­ing lan­guage.


CON­SUMER re­search from FFA UK found the top three fac­tors which would make us more likely to trust a stranger over the phone are among the com­mon tricks Dr Breen found were used by fraud­sters.

When asked to rank fac­tors that make us more likely to trust a stranger over the phone, the most pop­u­lar was “sound­ing like a nice per­son”, cho­sen by 46% of peo­ple.

This was fol­lowed by “sound­ing like they know what they’re talk­ing about”, cho­sen by 42%, while nearly a third (30%) listed “of­fer­ing to help with a prob­lem”.

So, if you find your­self on the phone to a stranger, re­mem­ber that the Take Five cam­paign says you should never dis­close se­cu­rity de­tails, such as your pin num­ber or full bank­ing pass­word.

Lis­ten to your in­stincts and do not al­low your­self to be rushed or pres­sured into do­ing some­thing you wouldn’t nor­mally do, such as trans­fer­ring money into the bank ac­count of a stranger.

If in doubt, just put the phone down.

Just be­cause he sounds pleasant doesn’t mean you should trust him

Hi, sorry to bother you, but I’m calling from your bank...

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