One in four would transfer all their money to a con artist, study finds

More than one in four consumers would transfer all of their money to a “secure account” if someone they believe to be from their bank, or a police officer, called them to tell them that their bank account had been compromised and that their money. was in danger of being stolen.

But the numbers, which are just the latest in a barrage of fraud data, don’t just highlight the risk to the elderly, vulnerable, or somehow non-techies among us.

The numbers suggest those most likely to fall in love with them are those under 34, nearly half of whom would do as the caller said, and transfer their money to what they think is a new one. safe account, according to a study by KIS Finance. .

This is despite the fact that over 80 percent of this age group claim to know what these scams are and how they work.

If they transfer their money, separate figures from Santander show the average victim would lose £ 5,634 each.

In secure account scams, fraudsters cold call their victims and pose as a bank representative or police officer, causing them to panic and do as they say by making them believe their money is running out. an imminent risk of being stolen. .

Impersonating a police officer, they will usually tell the victim that their bank account has been accessed by crooks or, if they are claiming to be a representative of the bank, they can give the same reason or pretend that an employee of the bank. branch stole money from customers.

Whatever the story, the only way to prevent the victim’s money from being lost without a trace is to transfer everything they own to a so-called secure account, they will say.

They will say that the account was created in their name and that they will have full access to it once they transfer the money. However, it is actually a bank account controlled by scammers and once the money is transferred it will be very difficult if not impossible to get it back.

“These scammers are smart – they know exactly how to manipulate the conversation and gain the trust of their victims,” ​​warns Holly Andrews, Managing Director of KIS Finance.

“For example, they will usually ask ‘security questions’ at the start of the call in order to obtain information such as security codes, login information, and bank balances. If the customer later becomes suspicious, he uses this information to prove their legitimacy, relying on the customer forgets that he gave them this information in the first place.

“They will also spoof the phone number, so even if someone were to verify, their bank’s real fraud number and the number calling them will match.

“The number of people who said they would gladly make the transfer if they received any of these calls is extremely concerning, especially in the younger age groups where the percentages are significantly higher.”

Citizens Advice reported this week that 36 million adults have been targeted by scammers using a range of techniques since January of this year – more than double the figure over the same period in 2020.

More than half of them were told of bogus deliveries or packages, 41% were told by someone claiming to be government-owned, and 12% by someone offering a bogus investment or get-rich-quick scheme.

But while those over 55 were the most likely to be targeted, those under 34 are almost five times more likely to be targeted than their older counterparts.

The association cites the case of a young woman who made contact when she lost £ 2,000 to a fake cryptocurrency company after receiving a message from a friend’s hacked social media account, for example.

Some experts believe that young consumers are more likely to fall victim to criminals, in part because the means to respond have never been faster, especially among the hyper-connected.

One in five consumers now responds to digital messages, including text messages, social media ads and emails within two minutes, warns financial analysis firm TransUnion, Gen Z – the youngest adults – responding the fastest.

“Absolutely anyone can be scammed. Criminals don’t care who they swindle, as long as they get what they want, ”said Paul Scully, Minister of Consumer Affairs, responding to the Citizens Advice study.

“You might think you are really tech-savvy, but now we’re seeing scams so compelling they would give a computer programmer food for thought.

“The best way to protect ourselves from scams is to dispel the myth that only a certain type of person is at risk, share experiences and report suspected scams to Citizens Advice and Action Fraud. “

More information, including how to spot signs of a financial scam, is available from Fraud in action

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