The lead up to Christmas is an good a time as any to talk about fraud, and that’s what Natwest, in conjunction with information provided by the Financial Fraud Action, have done. They’ve provided a handy tool that helps describe all the areas that Joe Public get hit by fraud in.
Unless I’ve been a “tool” myself, you should see it embedded below:
There are some things that immediately grab my attention. The most obvious was that telephone/mail order fraud is the second biggest, behind online shopping fraud, and way way ahead of others like stolen card or cheque fraud, cloned ID fraud and even cloned card fraud.
Looking behind the figures, telephone based fraud basically avoids the need for anything like verified by Visa or the Mastercard equivalent, which, also given the fact that you obviously don’t need a cards PIN number, makes it particularly enticing for fraudsters. And guess what? The easiest way to make fraudulent transactions with your card detail over the phone is to obtain them over the telephone in the first place. A popular way to do this has even made the news recently: Fraudsters target restaurant patrons hit the headlines back in August. Basically fraudsters phone restaurants pretending to be from their bank, saying that due to a fault in the system they need to sanction every payment before it can be processed. Once they’ve taken all the card details from the individual, they “allow” the normal PDQ payment to be go ahead, happy in the knowledge they have all the details they need to make payments using the stolen card details. Clever eh?
I always get into trouble when I’m cold called by the bank or a utility supplier and they say they have to ask me a few security questions before I can continue with the call because I say I’m not willing to answer their questions before they provide me with the answers to a few questions of my own to prove who they are. It’s a bit extreme yes, but fundamentally I’m generally a bit suspicious of any unsolicited telephone call now days. Especially if it’s apparently Microsoft telling me my unpatched copy of Windows is spamming people…
Still, there are plenty of ways that the ingenious criminal will attempt to part you from your money and it’s important to be a bit savvy because now days money is, as that ginger lad once sung, “too tight to mention (Cut Back!)”, so it is well worth checking out the Natwest Fraud Prevention tool and the wealth of information that comes with it. I know we all think that we’re too smart to fall for it, but even the other week in a moment of distraction I clicked on an email from a PR company I know that had been sent illegally. It purported to be a MS OneDrive document I could access via my G+ login. Big mistake, it lead to me changing all my passwords and setting up two step authentication pretty sharpish. But the point isn’t that I’m a thicky, it’s that it can happen to any of us if we’re not careful.
Disclosure: I’ve written about fraud, online security and the like before. When Natwest offered me a non cash incentive to do it again, I thought it would be a good idea. The words and thoughts are mine, the embedded tool obviously isn’t. Hope it helps.