25% jump in searches to help loved ones who have fallen victim to online scams

·2-min read

There has been a 25% increase in people looking for help for family and friends who have fallen victim to online scams over the past year, according to research.

The findings, based on the period April 2020 to April 2021, were made for Lloyds Bank and were based on analysis of online searches.

The figures, collected for Lloyds by researchers SEMrush, suggest there has been a particular spike in people trying to find out how to report scam calls during the coronavirus pandemic.

Scams can be reported to Action Fraud and if someone thinks they may have transferred money to a scammer they should tell their bank immediately.

Lloyds Bank’s own figures also suggest there has been an increase in attempted payment scams relating to online shopping, as well as impersonation scams by fraudsters cold calling people at home during the pandemic.

Lloyds has also seen a jump in investment scam attempts.

Philip Robinson, retail fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, said: “The pandemic has opened a whole new door for fraudsters who are trying every trick in the book to get their hands on victims’ cash and using coronavirus to disguise their tactics.

“The most common way they are targeting victims include advertising tempting investments on fake websites, tricking people into buying non-existent items on social media, sending texts about deliveries or so-called account activity with phishing links to gather information and then contacting people pretending to be from their bank or another organisations.

“It’s important to treat every email, message or call that you’re not expecting with caution and pay close attention to any warnings that may appear when banking online. Your bank or a genuine company will never ask you to move money to a different account and if anyone does, it’s definitely a scam no matter how genuine it may appear.”

Here are Lloyds Bank’s tips to fight fraud:

1. Your bank will never ask you to move money from your account. If someone asks you to do this, hang up – it is a scam no matter how genuine they may appear.

2. If a seller tries to push you into paying for something by bank transfer, that can be a red flag that it is a scam.

3. Do not click on any link in a text or email that you are not expecting. These can often be phishing for your details and are usually a scam.

4. Fraudsters can easily fake websites and make documents look real to trick you into investments. If you plan to transfer money to an investment without seeking financial advice, talk it through with someone and contact the company using the details on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website and speak to someone there before you send any cash.

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