Two mums reveal how they were robbed by cyber-scammers

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    Credit card fraud has been around for years, but unfortunately, as more and more of us rely on the internet to do our shopping and banking we are increasingly vulnerable to scams – sometimes with devastating effects…

    ‘I lost my life savings’

    Single Mum, Alex Finch, 50, considers herself pretty savvy when it comes to finances, which is why what happened in December 2016 came as such a shock.

    ‘We were getting ready to go away for Christmas. I was looking forward to a much-needed break with my children but still had some last-minute bits to do. It was pretty hectic, but I knew it would be worth it.

    ‘As I busied myself, the phone rang. It was BT ringing about a security issue. I was told some customers were at risk of losing their money, and I was one of them!’

    Alex panicked – all her life savings were in that account. So, like many in her situation, she did everything she was asked to. Logging on to her computer, she entered various codes and left her computer on overnight, before entering a few more codes the next morning.

    ‘At this point I should have realised something was wrong, but being so busy they caught me at the wrong time. Something must have been niggling away because when we got back from our trip I checked my online bank account. It was completely empty. Every single last penny of my £180,000 life savings gone.’

    The bank managed to retrieve £34,000 of the money, but the rest was lost. Alex was mortified, but hopes by speaking out others won’t fall prey to the same tactics.

    Fraudsters spent my money on takeaways!

    Using a credit card has become a way of life for most of us, but yoga teacher Laurie McAllister, 26, had been put off ever using one knowing she’d be tempted to impulse buy. However, with dreams of one day buying her own house, she decided it might be time as she knew it could improve her credit rating.

    ‘When I finally got my card, I spent wisely and stayed on top of my repayments. So far, so good. Until the day I got an email saying the bank wanted to increase my limit. I was excited as I thought my credit rating must be improving.’

    Laurie clicked on the link to confirm her financial details, unknowingly giving the scammers everything they’d need to use her card. It was only a few weeks later when she checked her statement that she realised what had happened.

    ‘There was £500 worth of takeaways and travel cards that I hadn’t bought. I went cold. Someone was having a grand old time – at my expense! I rang the bank straight away. As the transactions did not appear unusual, the bank wasn’t alerted to a potential fraud. Fortunately, I was refunded though, which was a huge relief.’

    Laurie has learned her lesson, and urges others not to give out any of their personal details. No more takeaways on her card – well, not for the scammers anyway!

    Take Five to Stop Fraud

    • A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust, and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
    • If something doesn’t seem right, take five to remind yourself of this simple phrase: ‘My money? My Info? I don’t think so!’
    • Criminals can make any telephone number appear on your handset,
      or make texts or emails look as if they’re on an existing thread. Don’t
      take this as proof that they are genuine.
    • Never click on a link in an unsolicited email or text, or agree
      to tap your card PIN into a phone keypad. Buying online? Type the
      website address directly into your browser.
    • Install the latest software and app updates. They contain vital
      security updates to help protect your devices from cyber criminals.