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Phone scams targeting the over-60s

Growing card fraud targetting older people

Card scams

New figures show fraudsters are using traditional phone-based scams to target older people.

New figures from the UK Cards Association show growing levels of traditional phone scams targeting the over-60s.

Phone fraud risk

This year more than £750,000 has been lost to phone-scamming fraud, with criminals responsible for stealing an average of £10,000 per incident.

Typical phone scams involve unsuspecting cardholders being duped into handing over their debit or credit card details and revealing their PIN, by a fraudster pretending to be from their bank, card company or the police.

Which? fraud expert Melanie Green said: ‘If you realise that you may have disclosed your security details, contact your bank immediately. The most you should have to pay if money is taken from your bank account without your authority is £50. But if the bank can prove you have been grossly negligent you may be liable for the whole amount.’

Traditional fraud increasing

The news comes following recent figures in October showing that while levels of online banking fraud fell by 32% between 2010 and 2011, phone banking fraud losses actually rose by 48% during the same period. In addition, cheque fraud losses rose by 17% between 2010 and 2011, and came to £16.4 million in the first half of this year.

Last month, a Which? investigation also uncovered widely varying levels of online security among UK banks. Nationwide was found to have the best website on test, with good login security and logout performance and an overall score of 69%.

If you realise that you may have disclosed your security details, contact your bank immediately.

How to protect yourself

To reduce your chances of being a victim of card, bank or cheque fraud, make sure you take the following steps:

  • Never hand your card over to someone claiming to be collecting it on behalf of your bank. Banks never operate in this way. Your bank will never ask you to ‘authorise’ anything by entering your PIN into the telephone.
  • Never share your PIN with anyone – the only times you should use your PIN is at a cash machine or when you use a shop’s chip and PIN machine.
  • Only shop online on secure websites. Look for the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol in your browser before entering any card details.
  • Shred bank statements, receipts and other documents containing your financial details before you throw them away.
  • Never accept a cheque from someone unless you know and trust them – particularly if that cheque is for a high value.
  • When writing a cheque yourself, draw a line through all unused space on the payee line and the amount line. This will help prevent the cheque being fraudulently altered.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed on your computer.
  • When typing in your PIN at an ATM or shop keypad, always shield it with your free hand.

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