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Fraud - How Safe Is Your Money?: Tonight

IF you ask dad-of- two Shaz Nawaz, he’ll tell you there are much easier ways to steal your money than robbing a bank nowadays … with less likelihood of getting caught.

Shaz Nawaz speaking on the Tonight programme, ITV at 7.30pm Credit: ITV / Tonight

He had £10,000 stolen from his bank account in 2013 but despite appealing to his bank, the Banking Ombudsman and the Police, he never got his money back - nor the crime investigated.

The police aren’t bothered. They make lots of noise about helping Joe Public, about wanting to make a difference, about really caring. But when it comes to the crux, they have done absolutely nothing.”

– Shaz Nawaz

Britain is increasingly becoming a cashless society as more people go online and use bank cards and mobile phones for moving cash around.

But while many of us enjoy the convenience - fraudsters are finding ever more opportunities to scam us out of our hard-earned money.

For example, more than 80 million debit and credit cards cards are now enabled with contactless technology.

Tonight reporter Jonathan Maitland sees how easily fraudsters can steal card details Credit: ITV / Tonight

But that comes with a risk as Tonight reporter Jonny Maitland found out when he had his credit card details stolen by digital pickpocket Nick Walker.

Fortunately Nick is a security expert with MWR InfoSecurity, who has developed an app that can read details off your contactless card without it ever leaving your wallet.

Nick then demonstrates how he can use the stolen information to potentially max out Jonathan’s credit card online. The TV experiment showed how sophisticated fraud is becoming.

Professor Ross Anderson Credit: ITV / Tonight

This year about a million households in Britain will suffer a traditional property crime such as burglary or car theft. Over two million households will be the victim of some kind of fraud or scam. Like everything else, crime isn't falling. It’s just moving online.”

– Ross Anderson - Professor of Security Engineering, Cambridge University

Paul and Linda Hirst know that to their cost. They were having problems with their broadband connection so they weren’t surprised when they got a call, on their ex-directory number, from a man claiming to be from their internet provider.

“They obviously knew my phone number they asked for me by name. They knew my address. They asked me to stay on the line and turn my lap top on and they were going attempt to speed the lap top up and clear all the bugs that were on the laptop.”

– Paul Hirst

The fraudsters managed to steal £5,000 from the couple.

Paul and Linda Hirst - victims to the tune of £5,000 Credit: ITV / Tonight

I sat down in the living room, just sat in the dark all night trying to go over and over again why was I sucked in so well? Days after that, it was just like a blur. It never left me for weeks. There was always that reminder that you’ve been scammed and you lost all that money."

– Paul Hirst

Richard Headland, editor of Which? Magazine warns that the banks won’t always offer a refund. The Hirsts haven’t received one.

Richard Headland, Which? Magazine Credit: ITV / Tonight

If the banks can prove there is a degree of negligence on your part in those kinds of transactions then there is a high chance they are not going to pay out and you are going to lose thousands of pounds as a result.”

– Richard Headland - Editor, Which? Magazine

Critics say that online fraudsters are quite likely to get away with it, but Commander Chris Greany, National Police Co-ordinator for Economic Crime, takes issue with reports that only one in a hundred online frauds lead to prosecution.

We shouldn’t just measure success on prosecutions. We take down around four thousand websites a month, which are fraudulent which are seeing people’s data which I think is pretty good for what we are trying to achieve.”

– Commander Chris Greany, National Police Co-ordinator for Economic Crime

The stakes are high. Fraud losses to the banks on UK credit and debit cards totalled well £567m last year - an 18% increase on the previous year. Card issuers reckon a further £1.75 billion of fraud was prevented by their security systems.

But while the banks may be using sophisticated analysis to help outwit the fraudsters, Dr. Moody of security firm ThreatMetrix shows the programme that stolen card details are cheaply available online.

Stephen Moody demonstrates the ease of buying stolen card details online Credit: ITV / Tonight

Back to Shaz Nawaz who was saving up for a dream family holiday to Disneyland, Florida when he was hit by online fraudsters.

He informed his bank, but was told that though his case was genuine, he had been negligent because his pin number, card reader and his computer’s IP address had all been used to authorise the stolen money.

It’s something Shaz hotly disputes: “I had never given my card reader my card or my pin to somebody else and I most definitely hadn’t made the transfer. There is no way whatsoever that I had compromised security.”

Shaz is still fighting for a refund.

Fraud - How Safe Is Your Money? is on ITV at 7.30pm

Quick tips:

  • Don’t be frightened by these fraudsters.
  • Be sceptical when anyone contacts you online or by phone from any organisation.
  • Never give your personal or bank details to someone who contacts you out of the blue.

For more information and advice: