In the first half of this year, scammers committed over a million cases of fraud, stealing more than five hundred million pounds from UK households.
Reporter Alex Beresford himself was the victim of a scam a few years ago when a substantial chunk of money was taken out of his savings by a fraudster. Fortunately, he did get his money back, but he still has no idea how someone got his access to his bank account and has remained on high alert ever since. Alex investigates how things have changed since he was scammed and finds out what new scams should we all be watching out for.
- James Bore, Cyber Security Expert
Alex looks into a type of fraud called ‘NIP farming’, where fraudsters use the Notice of Intended Prosecution forms, to illegally add someone’s speeding points onto another unsuspecting driver’s licence. This happened to travelling salesman Matt Smith - he received an unexpected letter in the post from the DVLA, informing him that he had been banned from driving after racking up 12 speeding points on his licence that he knew nothing about. For three months Matt was not allowed to drive and it took him nine months in total to clear his name completely.
It’s likely that the fraudsters that passed the speeding points onto Matt were providing a criminal service to others, helping drivers to dodge their speeding points, in exchange for cash. To find out more about how these fraudsters find business, the Tonight team posted on a Facebook group, expressing dismay at potentially receiving speeding points. Within a matter of hours, we received direct messages from potential scammers, offering their services.
Avoiding speeding points is a serious offence which can result in a fine of up to one thousand pounds, and six points on your licence.
Teresa was victim of a WhatsApp “Hi Mum” scam, a widespread con which has enabled criminals to steal a reported £500,000 this year already.
She received a message from a number she didn’t recognise, claiming to be her daughter in need of help to pay some urgent bills. Believing she was messaging with her daughter, Teresa transferred almost £7000 into the bank account of a scammer before alarm bells started to ring. Luckily, Teresa eventually got her money bank, through talking to her bank and the Financial Ombudsman.
We also hear from David, he runs a removals business and was the victim of an online marketplace scam. He was duped into sending a scammer almost £4000 for a van that didn’t exist. His bank returned his money as a good will gesture but it shook his confidence in making online purchases.
Throughout the episode, Alex Beresford and Cyber Security Expert Zoe Edmeades take members of the public through a ‘Spot The Scam’ test and provides them with top tips on how to spot fake text and emails purporting to be from large, reputable companies and organisations.
Scam Britain: What You Need To Know airs Thursday 2nd November at 8.30pm on ITV1. It is then available on catch up on ITVX.
If you need advice or suspect you may be a victim of fraud, visit Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040 to report it.
If you need to get in touch with your bank’s fraud team, dialling 159 is a safe way to ensure you get through to the right person. For more information, visit Stop Scams UK.
Most companies have information on their website about avoiding scammers impersonating their businesses - always visit them as a first port of call. To learn more about spotting scams generally you can also visit The Security Company.
To learn more about how to prevent email, phone based and online fraud, visit Take Five
For support if you have been affected by a scam, visit Victim Support.
If you or someone you know may be in immediate danger, call 999