BBC presenter Helen Skelton has revealed that she was recently scammed by individuals who claimed to represent her bank, this wasn’t the case and she unassumingly handed over her personal details.
£70,000 was taken from one of Helen’s savings accounts, this may have taken Helen years to accrue only for it to be taken from her within seconds. In the following days she was contacted by her bank who alerted her that the money was fraudulently taken from her account.
Whilst Helen was busy looking after her children and cleaning up around her home, she was contacted by an individual who claimed to be from her bank, however due to her having her hands full, news of having a potential problem with her bank account rushed her into resolving the “issue” as quickly as possible. This then led Helen to promptly hand over her information to whom she believed was her bank. This however, wasn’t the case and Helen was in fact a victim of a ‘Social Engineering’ scam which is designed to catch an individual out and then force them to hand over their information under the belief that there is a legitimate issue.
Social engineering consists of manipulating a person into providing their personal information over the forms of social media, telephone, email and even text message. Some of these methods are also used by legitimate banks in order to contact their customers when situations such as similar scams occur.
With a new show currently in the making, Helen wants to make the public aware that these kind of scams can target and trick anyone. She says the stereotype that these scams only affect the elderly and vulnerable is so naïve, that the entire country needs to be educated on scams and the methods used, rather than a select group of the population.
She also believes that there is a factor of embarrassment within younger generations when they are victims of such scams. It is common that younger victims do not report the crimes to the police or their bank because they have been tricked or fooled into handing over their money to a stranger.
Helen’s situation is however, an increasing issue and figures show that in the UK alone the annual global cost of telephone fraud is estimated to be around £24 Billion, some of this money gets recovered however not all of it can be, with the majority of banks having an ‘up to £85,000 coverage limit’ on money that was taken under the belief that it was for/from a legitimate reason.
One of the main red flags when you receive a call from a bank would be if they ask for any of your personal account details, something which banks state that they won’t ask for over the phone. To add to this PIN numbers and Passwords should never be shared with strangers or friends and family as the majority of banks will authorise payments if you have given the scammer your authentication methods.
Furthermore, another way to protect yourself from these types of scams would be to hang up and directly call your bank to confirm these concerns are in fact accurate before handing over your personal details, with another sign being unprofessionalism such as the caller being aggressive and/or rushing you to hand over your private information as soon as possible.
Finally, if you do find yourself in this situation follow the above methods in order to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of a scam, however if you have already handed over personal information and fear that your account is compromised contact your bank immediately, as alerting them before money is released can prevent them authorising a future withdrawal and can save you the hassle of trying to retrieve it.
If you need any support with protecting yourself from scams, find out how Cyber Wise can help or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 476 8276.