Scammers are becoming so sophisticated that increasingly they are managing to even con people who are aware of the dangers. All it takes is for them to catch you unawares, when perhaps you’re busy or when your mind is preoccupied with other matters.
TV and radio presenter Helen Skelton is the latest high profile victim. The former Blue Peter presented has revealed that she was scammed out of her savings after falling victim to fraudsters over the phone.
The fraudsters claimed to be from her bank and told her that “something dodgy had gone on with my account”. Speaking to TV presenter Lorraine Kelly she said. “The next week I had £70,000, all of my savings, had gone. All gone.”
Warning viewers not to fall into the same trap, Helen revealed that all it took was a few questions over the phone for her entire life savings to disappear.
It was only afterwards when Helen’s real bank contacted her that she realised something was seriously wrong.
And now the former Blue Peter star has made a programme with ITV in a bid to raise awareness of similar frauds.
The 36-year-old said she wanted to clear up the misconception that it’s only “little old ladies… who don’t understand the internet” that are susceptible to scams.
“That’s a massively naïve assumption” she said. “It’s happening to people and they’re too embarrassed to say that it’s happened.”
The police organisation, Action Fraud, said: “Remember, a genuine bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your full PIN or password.
“Don’t assume a phone call is authentic just because someone knows your basic details, such as name and address.
“Phone numbers and email addresses can be spoofed, so always contact the company directly via a known email or phone number (such as the one on the back of your bank card).
“Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected text or email.
“Every Report Matters. If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.”
Online fraud is a growing problem. Scammers stole £1.2billion from British bank customers in 2018.
Meanwhile a report by Inspectorate of Constabulary says that fraud victims are being let down by inconsistent policing.