Coronavirus has, unfortunately, brought along with it a number of new scams which prey on people’s health and financial anxieties. NatWest Community Banker Paul and Customer Protection Manager Simon appeared on a Facebook live presentation today to cover these scams and arm customers with the appropriate protection.
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They began by highlighting some worrying figures concerning coronavirus scams.
It was detailed that elderly people are more likely to fall for a coronavirus scam than other age groups, with 53 percent of victims being over 55.
However, they warned that this does not mean anybody below that age is invulnerable.
In fact, their findings revealed that young people are increasingly likely to fall for coronavirus scams as they move onto social media, a part of life dominated by young people.
There is a serious amount of money lost to scams which means that they should not be taken lightly.
Since 2019, £1.2billion has been lost to scams in the UK.
As it’s such a prevalent issue people would be forgiven for assuming that they’re effectively reported.
This, surprisingly, isn’t the case as it was revealed that only five percent of scam cases are reported.
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The NatWest team have thankfully put together an easy to understand scam “cycle” diagram to illustrate how these criminal activities work.
According to their research, scams operate in the following manner:
- Victims respond to a scam (e.g. by clicking a dubious link)
- Their personal details are added to a victims list
- Criminals will then target them
- The victim will then receive even more scam approaches
- The victim may then interact with these new scams, thereby restarting the cycle
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Simon highlighted that it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify. Scammers will lay on a heavy amount of charm and even if they are identified, many people may react with a fight or flight response resulting in potentially damaging reactions.
Thankfully, it may be possible to pre-emptively identify coronavirus scams as Simon explained that they tend to follow similar patterns. They usually follow a two-step process of creating uncertainty and then offering to provide a solution.
He went on to highlight the three main types of coronavirus scams we’ve seem pop up in recent weeks.
Victims could be offered tax refunds from HMRC, receive an impersonation email purporting to be from the World Health Organisation or get fake emails offering a coronavirus cure.
Leading on from this, Simon warned that one of the worst things a person can do is hand over control (remotely) or their laptop or computer to a stranger.
Scammers aim to do this all the time and no matter what they say, it is being done purely to infect the computer with malware and steal personal details.
He concluded by providing some of his top tips for combating the fraudulent world.
Simon warned to never give remote access under any circumstances and always identify a caller.
He also explained that customers should never be asked to move account details and internet providers won’t call customers just to inform them that their internet is slow, another tactic used by fraudsters.
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