Home Leisure & Lifestyle “I’m a Financial Well-Being Expert” – This One Acronym Can Help You Avoid Being a Victim of Scams

“I’m a Financial Well-Being Expert” – This One Acronym Can Help You Avoid Being a Victim of Scams

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From convincing phone calls and text messages requesting financial information to elaborate online scams, scammers are always looking for new ways to catch people off guard.  

In 2023 alone, UK Finance reported that scammers stole £1.17 billion through unauthorised and authorised fraud. In fact, scammers target those who they perceive as more vulnerable, including the elderly, with data showing that an older person falls victim to fraud every 40 seconds.  

It’s a scary situation, but it’s important to realise that scammers use convincing tactics to trick potential victims.  

While the financial impact of scams can be costly, they can also leave us feeling embarrassed, unsettled and have a lasting impact on our confidence. 3 in 10 (29%) say that being a victim of fraud has harmed their mental health, leading them to seek help with anxiety and depression.  

So, how can you stay alert to scams and prevent them from happening? The golden rule of avoiding scams is to be vigilant.  

Well-being expert, Ola Opoosun at caba, shares the one acronym you need to remember to avoid falling victim to fraud. 

“Knowing what to look out for and feeling confident to check or challenge what you’re being asked to do, especially where something doesn’t feel quite right, is very important.   

“If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re unsure what to do, our handy acronym S.C.A.M can help you carry out a quick checklist to help you work out if a request for financial and personal information is genuine or not.”  

Sender 

If you receive a message out of the blue, ask yourself: Is it a complicated email address, or one that’s familiar yet not quite right? An unknown phone number? Don’t assume that an email address, postal address, website or phone number is always authentic.  

Always stop and check the sender’s address or number.   

Chasing 

Is there a sense of urgency? Time pressure can be an obvious red flag as scammers might use tactics to convince you to make a hasty decision without thinking through things. However, a trusted organisation would never rush you to make an important decision such as transferring money or sharing credit card numbers.   

Remember to stop and take time to think through your decision and question if it seems like suspicious activity.  

Action 

An online, phone or email scam will likely try one of a variety of ways to get you to send money or personal information. But it’s important to remember that a genuine bank or organisation would never ask you for your passwords to security questions, PIN or other security details, especially out of the blue.    

Mistakes 

Scammers impersonate trusted companies, organisations and even people. If you receive an email or text with spelling errors or strange wording, then these are tell-tale signs which can be a big giveaway that it’s a scam. 

Scammers are hoping that people might overlook typos. You should do an online search of the number or email address to see if it’s legitimate before replying to the message.  

What do I do if I fall victim to a scam? 

Ola says: “It’s important to remember that anyone can be a victim of a scam. Falling victim to a scam is nothing to be embarrassed about.  

If you’re worried that you’ve been scammed online or through another method, or your financial security has been compromised, or you spot any fraudulent activity on your bank account, it’s important that you reach out to your bank directly and immediately. Your bank will take action like blocking or freezing your bank account or credit card so no money can be taken.   

You can also reach out for financial support from charities, such as caba, for tools and tips to help you get your finances on track if you’ve been affected by scams.” 

With scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s important to be more vigilant and feel confident to check or challenge what you’re being asked to do.  

Trust your instincts and remember S.C.A.M to protect yourself.

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