Common Sense Fights Cybercrime
Latest crime statistics have revealed that we remain wide open to the threat of fraud on a global scale.
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that one in ten of us have fallen victim to fraud or cybercrime attacks in the last year, and the threat can come from anywhere in the world, and target anyone regardless of age, wealth or where they live.
Almost six million offences are now committed every year, almost doubling the official crime rate in England and Wales.
Says Ian Zeff, Managing Director of Cryptex Security: “If an offer sounds too good to be true, it is! If you’re unsure, put the phone down on a cold caller, and delete any suspicious email or text without opening it or replying. Keep your computer’s antivirus software updated and most importantly, never allow yourself to be pressured into making a decision quickly or paying anything up-front. ”
Just to be sure, Cryptex Security has put together the most popular cyber crimes for you to be aware and stay protected.
Pension and investment scams pose one of the biggest threats, costing victims £20,000 on average, according to figures from Citizens Advice.
Fraudsters based overseas typically make unsolicited contact via cold calls, post and emails, offering get-rich-quick investment schemes designed to rob savers of their retirement nest eggs.
Playing on current economic uncertainty, consumer watchdog Which? warns that emails with headlines such as “Brexit causes historic market drop” encourage recipients to click on a link that will download viruses and spyware. This will bombard you with unwanted advertising and/or steal your identity.
Taking it Global
A recent Panorama programme highlighted nearly 300 frauds worth £6.8 million luring unsuspecting Britons to invest in property or hotel developments in Cape Verde.
Hong Kong and even closer to home, destinations in Spain are full of bogus brokers cold-callers to UK savers, trying to lure them into buying worthless shares.
Old Tricks Die Hard
Don’t forget the old tricks of the trade never die. Households are constantly hassled by bogus call centre staff in India pretending to be working for a reputable company such as Microsoft or BT, claiming to have identified a problem with your computer, which can be fixed for a fee.
“Microsoft support” scams hit one in five UK households says Which? costing victims more than £500 each. Nigerian “419 advance-fee frauds”, where victims are promised a large share in a lottery win or inheritance if they help transfer funds to the UK, are costing trusting Britons around £340 million a year.
Bogus handwritten “begging letters” claiming to be from children in Uganda who cannot afford their school fees and want financial help is another old trick. Lottery scams also thrive, with victims receiving personalised letters saying they have won a prize, but must send money to a mailbox in the Netherlands before claiming it.
Ian concludes: “Criminals are constantly establishing new lines of attack, but the good news is that working together, with a bit of common sense, we can win.”