This week is Take Five week, a very important week where awareness is being raised of some of the current scams and fraud that we all can face as consumers, whether we’re 18 or 80.
Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national awareness campaign, led by FFA UK (part of UK Finance), backed by Her Majesty’s Government, that offers advice to help consumers prevent financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as text fraud, particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.
I am supporting Take Five this Week to help spread what I think is a very important message. I for one receive multiple approaches a day, most of which come through on my mobile phone via text message or phone call.
As part of the Take Five Week we are encouraging people to talk to their family and friends about different types of financial fraud.
I decided to talk to five people who were in an older demographic to see if they had the same awareness of the types of financial fraud that are happening right now.
I spoke to Roger, Caroline, Rosie, Graham and Gill who are all in the 60+ age bracket. I spoke to them specifically about five different fraud scenarios; a push payment, clicking on links in e-mails, giving out personal information, phone call and text message fraud.
The results surprised me…
Push payment – when an organisation asks you to move money into a safe account.
Everyone I spoke to about this kind of payment or transfer was immediately suspicious. Roger didn’t think his bank would ever call him and questioned why anyone would want to move something into a different account. Caroline didn’t think this sounded right, but as with most financial dealings she leaves it to her husband to sort so would have stopped the conversation there.
Graham, Gill and Rosie all said they would be suspicious and would either try and find more information before talking to the person any further.
Graham and Roger both said they would ask for the information to be put in a letter – something I am not sure even I would do, so they seemed pretty savvy to this kind of potential fraud.
Clicking on links/files – when I text message or e-mail asks you to click through and give information.
This seemed to be the one that could have put most of the people in potential danger of giving out personal information. Caroline said straight away ‘yes I would click on it to see what it is. I would open it’. I reminded her that it could be anyone and that the site might look like a trusted site to which she asked ‘well what do I do then’? The advice I have been given is to look at the senders e-mails as they often look odd, or read the e-mail then call a trusted number of that organisation to check.
Rosie said to this that her ‘husband has told me not to click on links’ so I would hope she’d be OK, but she was shocked about how real some of these e-mails look.
Graham and Gill both received e-mails like this and have in the past clicked on them, after hearing the stories I told them said they would be vigilant.
Numbers can look like trusted numbers – A fraudster can ‘highjack’ a message chain with a new message to try and look genuine.
All of the five people I spoke to didn’t know that and Roger, who I would say is the savviest person then checked his messages and looked quite worried. He said he’d always call a number or go into a branch to check.
However, everyone said that they knew the kind of messages they received so might be suspicious at something new but were now more switched on with what could be happening.
E-mails – Unsolicited e-mails asking you to transfer money for someone
Almost everyone, other than Caroline got these kinds of e-mails. Graham said ‘this one won’t fool me’ it’s obvious what they are trying to do.
However, Roger did say ‘I try and reply instantly, but really I should take more time’ so I think this made him think about replying with less haste.
Calls – lots of fraudsters will call, maybe multiple times to get your information.
‘I get lots of nuisance calls’ said most and almost everyone said ‘I don’t accept unsolicited calls’. Worryingly Caroline told me of a time her phone company called and asked her to start her computer and follow their instructions for faster speeds. She started doing this and then thought,’what am I doing?’. She asked them to call back when her husband was home and they never did. She said ‘how do you know who anybody is these days?’ Which is true, you don’t, so I advised her to always call them back from another line later on or get a letter.
Gill had a similar experience and again ‘got worried so said to them to put it in writing’.
What I found the most interesting was a comment from Roger. He said ‘most older people have time on their hands to be suspicious, they’ll go to the bank, they’ll think, they’ll do it an old fashioned way. I believe younger people are more likely to be caught out with fraud, you’re all so busy and do things quickly. You might make a mistake and get caught off guard’.
I have to say, to a degree I agree with him. I think the 60 something’s I spoke to were extremely savvy and as most of them were retired or newly retired had more time on their hands to think about what they’re doing and who they’re talking to.
Even though they all seemed savvy, some of the information was new and for that I was glad I told five people about fraud.
Would you agree? Are the older generation savvier than we think? Which five people would you choose to tell about fraud to protect them?
More information on Take Five.
Take Five to Stop Fraud is backed by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) part of UK Finance, HMG via the Home Office and a range of partners including banks, building societies, law enforcement agencies, commercial, public and Third Sector organisations. By working together banks, the financial industry, Government and consumers can help to stop fraud.