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From Covid-19 to charity appeals, scammers love taking advantage of current events. Find out about the latest scams and how criminals are using misinformation to take money.
If something looks suspicious, the best thing to do is nothing. Don't click or select links, give any details or do what it wants you to do. Instead, look online for the company’s official details and contact them direct.
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. When something doesn't feel right, stop and think about who is asking you to do it and why.
The number one way to stop scammers is by making sure your password and security settings are strong, updated regularly and available to you alone.
Since the announcement of the government cost of living payments scheme, fraudsters have been seeking to capitalise on coverage related to the scheme, which offers £650 to millions of low income households. The Department for Work and Pensions has issued a warning about scams related to cost of living assistance following reports of scam phone calls, emails and text messages.
If you are eligible for cost of living payments, you do not need to apply for the payment or contact the DWP directly. Payment to you is automatic and the DWP will never ask for personal details by SMS or email.
If you think you might have been a victim of a scam like this you can report fake government messages to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
Fraudsters may contact you at any time of year, however, the frequency of these can increase around the tax assessment deadline.
These fraudsters use any method of communication, for example, instant messaging, text messages, email, phone calls etc. They may even change their caller ID or email address so that it appears to be from HMRC.
In these situations, criminals pose as HMRC to try and persuade you to send them money. They may send you an outstanding bill or tax rebate messages. They could also even try to put pressure on you by saying that they will take legal action against you if you don’t respond immediately.
Another example of a HMRC scam could be where you receive a text message or email which states that you are entitled to a tax refund. The message may then go on to say "Follow instructions to claim your tax refund..." Any links included will be controlled by fraudsters trying to obtain your personal details and use these later to impersonate you.
Report suspicious HMRC emails, texts and phone calls on the government's suspicious HMRC communication page.
Criminals keep their eyes on the news and will use any event as an opportunity to make money. They’ll use everything from natural disasters such as the Turkey/Syria earthquake to war, such as the situation in Ukraine, to trick people into giving money to fake accounts set up to only benefit the fraudsters.
Only donate to genuine charities. You can check the charity name and registration number on the government's charity register.
If you’re giving to a fundraiser in person, make sure you check their credentials and don’t be afraid to ask for more information. If you’re giving online, don’t click on links in emails, but type in the charity website address yourself and look for the registered charity number on the website. Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company as this is a popular scam.
Don’t hand over money, bank details or personal information to any organisation you’re not 100% sure about. You can also report fake fundraising appeals to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
We know that keeping energy bills at a manageable rate will be a priority for most of you at the moment – unfortunately, fraudsters know this too!
There are several reported energy related scams circulating, attempting to steal your money or personal data. These can come in the form of fake emails or text messages, often impersonating Ofgem or gov.uk, claiming to offer discounts on energy bills or information on how to claim your government cost-of-living support.
One of the best ways to stop scammers in their tracks is to know what to look out for.
If you are contacted and asked to pay any fees towards having your energy usage reviewed or asked to provide personal information relating to the recently announced government energy bill cap - treat it with suspicion. You do not have to pay for this service and you are not required to share personal information or bank details. The discount will be automatically applied by your energy provider – you don’t need to do anything.
If you ever receive an email, SMS, phone call or letter asking you for your personal information in order to get a better deal, a fixed rate or any other support with energy prices, always act cautiously. If you’re concerned, call your energy supplier on a number you trust, for example directly from their website, and always check the information you’re being given carefully.
Finally, and simply, never click links you were not expecting or received from unknown sources you do not recognise.
If you do notice any of the above signs, or think your personal information has been targeted or stolen, you can report phishing attempts by forwarding the SMS to 7726 or if an email, to email@example.com.
If you think your Skipton account has been compromised, either call us on 0345 850 0469, speak to a colleague in branch, contact us by web chat or send a secure message from Skipton.co.uk or your app.
We want to remind members to stay alert as scammers use any situation to con people out of their money or personal and security details. Phishing, vishing and smishing are popular methods for scammers, particularly about bank notes/coins. Please make sure you’re checking that all messages you receive are genuine.
In regard to cash, you can currently use all current bank notes or coins at the moment. The Bank of England will slowly bring in new bank notes and coins. Don't hand over any cash to anyone you are not 100% sure about. The police, your bank/building society/post office or any fraud team will never ask you to hand over cash, saying it may be fake or because they can change it for notes/coins with the kings image on due to an update by the Royal Mint. If you wish to change coins or notes for new versions, you should do this in your bank/building society or the post office. You can read more about this on the Bank of England website.
There have been reports of fake NHS emails, text messages, letters and even home visits offering Covid-19 vaccinations if you pay for it.
Keep an eye out for emails or text messages that look as though they’re from the NHS asking you to share bank details. The Covid-19 vaccine is free, and the NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer it.
If someone contacts you about the vaccine and you're not sure if they’re genuine, end the conversation and contact your local GP.
Fake messages from Gov.uk have been doing the rounds offering tax refunds, benefit payments and fines. The messages are designed to entice you to select or click on a link or call a number that will take you to a fake website or call centre where criminals will try to get you to enter your personal information.
Think before you click. Be wary of unexpected emails or text messages asking you to click links or telephone a company. Don’t provide any personal information unless you’re 100% sure who you’re dealing with.
If in doubt, contact the company by looking up their number, then call them to confirm the message is really from them. You can also report fake government messages to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
Online shopping increased during the pandemic and so did the rise in shopping sites selling fake virus testing kits, miracle cures, masks and anti-bacterial products.
People or companies offering Covid-related products might not be genuine businesses. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Don’t hand over money, bank details or personal information to any company you’re not 100% sure about. You can also report fake government messages to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
Lots of new groups popped up during the pandemic and, while most had good intentions, not all were genuine.
Be cautious about anyone offering services like shopping, home cleaning or medication collection to lonely or vulnerable people.
It’s always fine to say no and close the door to unexpected callers, whoever they say they are.
If you think you've uncovered a scam, been targeted by a scam or fallen victim to fraudsters, the best thing to do is act quickly.
Here are some other official websites and resources dedicated to keeping you safe from fraud.
Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud.
Do you think you can tell a scam from the genuine thing? Put your ability to spot a scam to the test with the Take Five quiz.
takefive-stopfraud.org.uk is an external website. Skipton Building Society cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites.
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Site intended for UK residents only. Skipton Building Society is a member of the Building Societies Association. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, under registration number 153706, for accepting deposits, advising on and arranging mortgages and providing Restricted financial advice.Principal Office, The Bailey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1DN.