Five new scams to keep an eye out for and how to protect yourself

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Scam Awareness Fortnight (June 13-26) is a great opportunity to tackle five new threats that are attacking us right now. Photo: Getty

Cheating is like a virus. Each time we begin to understand them and build our defenses to protect ourselves, they evolve to exploit new vulnerabilities.

This means that while we understand the signs of fraud better than ever, we also need to be aware of new forms so we can protect ourselves against them as well.

Scam Awareness Fortnight – June 13-26 – is a great opportunity to fight five new threats that are attacking us right now.

Mom and Dad WhatsApp scam

It’s a terrible scam that redeems the kindness of the family.

Scammers will contact you via WhatsApp posing as a friend or family member. They start with a practical reason to use another phone — so they can say they lost or broke it — and then ask for money.

They will usually ask you to send a picture of the front and back of your card, which they can then use for your account.

Continue reading: This is how you save money in the supermarket with Select Kids

Protect yourself:

  • Never send photos of the front and back of your card to anyone for any reason.

  • If a family member asks for money on social media or an app, call them separately on a number you trust and ask if that’s it.

  • Block the number so scammers can’t contact you again.

Mum & Dad WhatsApp scam redeems family mercy Photo: Dado Ruvik/Reuters

Energy Relaxation Rag

Scammers will always use something from the news to get you. When Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £400 rebate on energy bills, they cashed in quickly.

The scam starts with a text message claiming that you need to follow the instructions to receive your money. It links to a fake offgame website that asks you to enter your details and set up a direct debit. This is how they can steal your financial information.

Protect yourself:

  • Good to know that this relaxation is automatically credited to your energy account – you don’t have to do anything.

  • Remember that no reputable company will ask for personal information via SMS or phone.

  • If you receive a text or email from someone you don’t know, never click on a link.

story goes on

Price comparison con

The staggering energy price cap has also given scammers a chance. They know people will check comparison sites to see if they can lower their bills, so they pretend to be from a well-known comparison site.

They say there’s a special offer you can take advantage of, but it’s only available to a small number of people so you need to act now.

They will then ask for payment details which will give them what they need to access your account.

Continue reading: Is this the beginning of the end of rising home prices?

Protect yourself:

  • Remember, price comparison sites don’t call you just because you’ve been looking for cheaper energy.

  • If an offer is available, it is either sent by the energy company to its existing customers or on comparison sites that are accessible to all. They do not make special offers for a small number of randomly selected people.

  • If someone is pushing you to make a quick decision, it is definitely a sign of a scam.

Remember that no reputable company will ask for personal information via SMS or phone. Photo: Getty

Facebook Marketplace Gangster

Police have warned of increasing scams on Facebook Marketplace, targeting anyone selling relatively high value items – like cars or computers.

You agree to personally purchase and take the item with you. Then, when they arrive, they show the seller a fake banking app, showing that the money has been credited to the seller’s account. Only after they leave do they log into their own banking app and see that there is no money.

Protect yourself:

  • Before handing anything over, check your own banking app or PayPal to make sure the money is there.

  • Don’t believe a buyer when they say there should be a delay in showing it. Tell them to leave and come back when you know the money has arrived.

  • don’t be ashamed. They rely on people to be polite enough to question what they say.

DVLA Desperados

The DVLA warns scammers are sending texts and emails pretending to be theirs.

Messages say your road tax is due for renewal – or your payment failed and you need to resubmit the details.

You will be asked to click on a link that will take you to a fake DVLA website where you will be asked to enter your banking information. This gives criminals access to your account.

Continue reading: What is the cost of living and how can you manage yours?

Protect yourself:

  • Remember that the DVLA will never send emails or SMS and will not ask you to provide any personal or bank details.

  • They will never ask you to log into an account.

  • When your road tax is due you will receive a reminder letter from the DVLA and you can pay on the government website or at a post office.

See: avoiding debt

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