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Have you fallen victim to a scam?

With thousands of unsuspecting people falling victim to scams in the UK every year more and more scammers seem to be getting away with it.

“Almost three quarters of us has been targeted by scammers in the past two years and one in 10 know someone who’s lost money to fraud”, according to Citizens Advice.

Many scams originate from criminal call centres abroad, where teams set in motion their scams to defraud, regularly operating 24/7.

Often people are targeted by these call centres telling them there is a problem with their computer which can be fixed for a fee.  Or they’re tricked into downloading malware by clicking on ads or suspect emails which then infect their computer with a virus.

Sometimes, scammers manage to trick the person into handing over money either over the phone or through a pop-up or made via money transfers. In severe cases callers steal financial and personal details. Other computer scams involve offering bogus virus protection or warranties.

BBC Panorama

It is very difficult for the police to find and prosecute scammers, so one man in the UK, fed up with the fraudsters, decided to do something about it.  He hacked into a call centre in India from where scammers target their victims.  He managed to film and record scam phone calls and then passed the information over to the BBC. The footage is shown in the BBC Panorama programme on BBC One at 20:30 on Monday 2nd March.

So close…

I had a near miss last week. I received an email offering a tax rebate reportedly sent by HM Revenue & Customs. Luckily, I had recently been in contact with HMRC and knew I wasn’t due anything, so I didn’t click on any links in the email but instead contacted HMRC and reported it. It could so easily have gone the other way.

Have you been caught by a scam? Or have you been shrewd enough to realise someone was trying it on? Do you think the police are doing enough to find these scammers? Will you be watching the Panorama programme? Let us hear your views and perhaps your experiences may help others be aware.

Have you fallen victim to a scam?

359 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Llynfi
29th Apr 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes, when newly widowed a few near misses & coincidently today went to buy CBD oil for 29.99 my bank blocked it & checked with me they were about to take £184.00 . Best to avoid buying online or stick with those that you know are established businesses.
Felix1
12th Mar 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Local website recommending tradesmen. My husband engaged gardeners through them. They had no idea. Managed to put a fence up o.k. but gardening .... no idea. My husband foolishly agreed to pay £3.500. Four men, two did the digging and two, obviously the bosses, sat in garden chairs watching! The diggers were paid a pittance by the day. One of them borrowed money off my husband, cadged cigarettes off neighbours. What a set up.
SuzyQ123
10th Mar 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I’m pretty savvy online but this one time I’d plugged in a lightening stick to my iPad for the first time. Immediately I happened to notice I’d received an email from Apple advising I needed to reset my account as my device would be locked until I did. It mentioned that a new device had been used and I couldn’t understand how they knew this.
It was late, I was tired and stupidly clicked the link without double checking the email address it had come from.
It was a phishing scam. I changed my password and have ‘hopefully’ learned to not fall for this again!
It’s always when you’re in a rush, and this is exactly the kind of behaviour the scammers are relying on!
PurpleHat
9th Mar 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Further to my report 6 days ago of a probable scam when I received an email about failed renewal of my tv licence and asking for a new direct debit. TVlicencing has got back to me confirming that it was indeed a scam. So caution required once again, as it looked so authentic I was almost fooled.
LynneC441
8th Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
caught but realised and cancelled cheque for £600 with help from Santander. tried to report it on fraud line. finally gave up. spent the saved£600 on a new computer!
Lionel
8th Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
My step daughter was taken for £700 by a scammer about five years ago. He thought he was clever, but we traced him and his bank to Andover in Hampshire.

We replaced her money and I went to the Police. That's the last time I'm reporting anything, such was their level of interest. Then rang the fraud helpline, but they just took the information.

However, I detected a vague Norfolk accent in the chap on the phone. On questioning him he came from Kings Lynn. We had a good, friendly chat about old times and I asked him what would happen to the information I'd reported, including the detective work I'd done. He said, nothing! It would be filed away only to join the 14,000 other reports they get every day!

Comforting isn't it? About as good as John Major's Cones Helpline!
viking
6th Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Surely with all the high tech equipment that the police and other departments are supposed to have these days, why are they not trying to identify the scammers and bring them to justice ??
Perhaps there is a lot of expensive equipment lying idle with no one with the necessary knowledge to use it ?
There does appear to be so much at the moment that there is no longer the will of the agencies involved to really make an effort to stem the tide.
Fragrant
5th Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I was nearly caught with the ‘Amazon Prime’ scam. They told me they had taken fees from my account and that to get a refund I would have to open my laptop. When I asked why they wanted to get into my files etc. And told them I would not do it. They immediately put the phone down.
Also I was caught up in the TSB/Lloyd’s scam, they completely wiped my money out overnight, as they did thousands of other people at the same time. I had given no information away at all. I did get my money back eventually, but the feeling of being a complete dupe never goes away, and all confidence in the system is shaken.
Grandmacrafter
5th Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I personally haven’t been a victim but I am plagued with these sort of phone calls. My family tell me not to answer the phone, but I do because it might be one of them needing me. Why do these evil people deliberately pray on unsuspecting people, often the elderly. Do they sleep easy in their beds, do they feel good about themselves, they probably do because they have no heart or soul. I wish with all my heart that they could be brought to justice.
Lionel
5th Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I'm known in the family for being fairly tight with money while priding myself on having a quid when needed.

Late last year that piece of pride got a severe dent! Checking the bank accounts one Saturday morning there were a lot of odd payments going out, things my wife hadn't mentioned. Thirty quid here, twenty five there and other smaller amounts. But the total accounted for our being a little skint!

The bank immediately blamed us and the proverbial effluence hit the fan. 'A dating site? Thirty quid? I'm a lame near seventy year old, still contentedly married and currently nearly broke. Some target for a sixty year old bottle blonde looking for a financially easy ride into later life.'

It only got better from there. The bank did a quick search of the last few years of our account and declared there was owed over £700, made up mostly of 99p and £1.99 payments to an iTunes lookalike site, £7.99 to Amazon audible when we're both partially deaf and it goes on.

When we all calmed own the bank refunded everything. It was actually nearer £800!

New house rule: anything suspicious on the bank account, however small, we'll jump on it! The thieving beggars aren't having my money!
PurpleHat
9th Mar 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I started receiving small items from Amazon which I had not ordered, on enquiry I was told that I had another account with a user name I did not recognise at all and which I disputed.. I promptly closed off both accounts and no longer deal with Amazon. I returned the goods, but was not refunded the postage. It seems difficult to get a clean break from them as I still get emails. Fortunately I did not lose any money at the time.
Jupiterbee
5th Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I was victim of an email scam last month. I left a ring valued at almost £10,000 with a trusted jeweller to sell on my behalf. After it sold, the jeweller contacted me by email to ask for my bank account details, which I sent by return email. However, he didn’t receive my email, instead he received bank account details from a very similar sounding email address - mine is Ymail, this one was Outlook. On contacting Outlook I found out that somebody had set up an account in my name a few weeks earlier. The jeweller didn’t notice the different email address and sent the money to the wrong bank account.
Fortunately the receiving bank noticed the transaction as suspicious and held the money in a suspense account. It took a few weeks to resolve the issue but I eventually received the money.
I don’t know what action, if any, was taken by the banks concerned or the jeweller. I checked my own Ymail account with Ymail support and there was no suspicious activity associated with it.
If the receiving bank had not noticed suspicious activity, I believe the money would have gone into the wrong hands.
Needless to say, I won’t send bank account details by email again!
VeraS
3rd Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I havent been scammed but I can see how people are easily conned
Glass Tomato
3rd Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I was heartily sick of cold callers particularly the ones saying I had a virus on my lap top so being with talk talk I have now got call safe. This is a free service and actually puts cold callers off before they have to register their name. I haven't had one cold call since. I really recommend this service .
PurpleHat
3rd Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I had an email this week from [email protected] saying that they could not take my latest payment from my bank so could not renew my licence and a link to set up a new direct debit, it looked totally authentic, but since I had my new free(for now) over 75 licence in the post last week I believe this is a scam to get your bank details and milk your account I did not click on the link. This is a new one on me, I have had most of the others, including Washing machine 3 year deal insurance I paid, but got my money back.
mikeecoote
3rd Mar 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I consider myself a wise and sensible person who is computer savvy and who has much life-experience. And still, I was scammed out of my entire life-savings! It has left me in a state where my mental health has suffered and where I can only live from day-to-day instead of planning for my future.
Margaret Hart
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Luckily I havent lost any money as I paid by card but I still felt a fool. When you have tried virtually everything to lose weight you end up desperate and are looking for that magic answer which really doesn’t exist and you take a chance (which I did) and end up paying a small fortune for junk as it has a guaranteed money back guarantee even though it happens to be in the States and could really be little more than a box number.but I should have known better. What really gets me are those who deliberately prey on the old and vulnerable as living on there own they can’t go out and check if there’s a tile coming down or the aerial is hanging off so these robbing rotters get away with vast sums of money and never come back. There’s also the people who call themselves builders or kitchen fitters and get people to pay up front for goods and sometimes part labour and then either can’t do the job or do a runner. On top of that now with the internet there are lots of people selling fake goods but I think that is a sign of the times we are now living among many people who are rather lacking in morals and for them anything goes.
GabriellaG
2nd Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I've been caught TWICE and thought I knew how to evade them. I was caught when TSB were having problems and it was widely reported on the news that they were unable to deal with customers for the best part of a week. The first I knew was when my mobile phone provider sent a message to say my request to transfer my phone number to another provider was about to be actioned. I phoned immediately to say I hadn't actioned anything but they wouldn't stop it and it went ahead, quickly followed by two notifications of "speedy payments' made by TSB to two Arab-sounding names of he entire contents of our bank account and another of our overdraft facility (never used by us) - just pre-Christmas. The Bank would not answer their phone so I drove the 8 miles to our branch bank and they, too, couldn't get Head Office to pick up the phone for over 4 hours of constant ringing. I reported it to the Police, who also phoned me back about a year later to say they thought they had traced the perpetrators and did I still have the details, which I did - but I still never heard if they were caught. The bank did refund me the money but I also contacted the Ombudsman. I avoided the "overpayment of tax" scam, and regularly, daily in fact, get phone calls from abroad claiming to be from my phone provider. I simply put the phone down and try never to open an email from friends with 'no content'. It is rife everywhere. We were completely devastated for days afterwards.
LaurelC
2nd Mar 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I fell for a scam that was supposed to protect and clean up my laptop, and keep it safe indefinately for £700. The so-called "tech" had to be allowed into my computer, he did this almost every night and spent the time trying to get me to buy gift cards, and many other ways of getting cash, all involving copies of my passport, and many other documents. After two months I felt really harassed and realised it was a scam and stopped my credit cards, but too late to stop him forcing me to buy a £700 gift card, which was eventually refunded as I bought it under duress. These people are extremely persuasive and credible. I never got back the original £700. Thank God I do not bank on line, or he would have cleaned me out.
Ryder
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I will watch the program this evening and I have had many calls from scammers and as soon as I hear the Indian voice I tell them they are scammers and they put the phone down.
RussellS3
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Not enough is being done to track and punish these scammers. These scammers are causing terrible heartache and problems for many people who can ill afford to be so cruelly scammed.
Surely there is some form of call blocking which can be applied on a national basis?
thefilthycripple
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Scammers are now calling nearly every day but we have a police force that thinks burglary is an insurance issue , so they are unlikely to take seriously another “victim less crime “
Billythequiche
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
No, thank goodness, but I get them every day online and on my mobile. Most of them are so obvious they are amusing but some are persistent., TV Licence and PayPal especially.
One bit of info, if you receive a letter headed Royal London and notice that it is from a tracing company, it is genuine, I checked through its H.O. website. They are searching for old, accounts and policies that may not have been used for years.
Yagala
2nd Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I did not fall for a scam but my wife did in her live and thus I bear the costs of loosing £75.000 which I am trying slowly to overcome.
Incredible Kath
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
We ignore calls from unknown phone numbers on the landline and mobile; we delete emails from unrecognisable sources; we guard against offers and promotions that look too good to be true (they usually are!). We don't give out our email addresses and phone numbers to random people, which includes high street shops that we're buying from, unless absolutely necessary and we know they're a genuine well known shop and there's a very good reason for them asking such details. We never give out bank card details over the phone unless we have phoned them eg reputable holiday companies.

(Martin Lewis always says never pay for anything by bank transfer!)

Passwords - instead of writing them out fully (because I can't remember them all) I write out clues that only I know the answers to!

I do worry that as we get older we are more vulnerable to scammers and believe that we should be offered more help and protection from our banks and government. We have a large ageing population (we are not all IT Whizzkids) and we need to feel safe, after all, our money was hard work to acquire!

If I feel doubtful about any financial transactions I stop, and don't proceed. Trust your gut instinct!

Last but not least, I check with younger family members if I feel that I need reassurance.
LynnA541
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Was paying scammers for two years thinking I was paying for Sky insurance
HappyHippie
2nd Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
thanks to the internet i'm mostly forewarned
SusanM52
2nd Mar 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
I sent off for a very nice looking knee support, paid in full by card. I waited and waited but nothing arrived. Luckily it was right on the cusp of changing cards so they couldn’t take anything else. I informed the bank that if they tried to take anything else out of my account it was not authorised. Now I think twice about ordering anything from sites I don’t know.
Wilf
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Best to ignore all calls. We have mobile phones now-why have a landline? and do not answer any calls who we do not know who it is. If it is not one of our friends and family then sorry we are not answering-"simples"
arnoldbradford
2nd Mar 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Had many calls in the last year ignored them all.
Munsterlander
2nd Mar 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
They phone us every so often. A new one is "Microsoft calling" telling me I need a new anti virus patch on my computer. I tell them I dont have Microsoft (I dont) . They insist I do? Madness so I crash the phone down. and thats that.
ElisabethR
2nd Mar 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
Happened about 6 years ago. Phone call 7amish. Seems some one was using my computer to pass info re harm to small children. Porn etc. 7am woken up, lots of stuff in the news and having small grandchildren. Horrendous. Very helpful man etc explained it all to me. I handed over control of my computer to him eventually told me all had been effectively stopped. For a fee he could put a programme on to stop it happening again. He was supposed to be BT. Gave him credit card details..... By this point I was waking up. Saw the logo come up fo the website that transfers money overseas. As I was remembering my daughter telling me some time before not enough to turn laptop off..... Remove batteries.... I was doing it. Immediately rang bank. Had managed to stop monies getting out. The..... Can't remember the name..... Money transfer people sent email to say transaction interrupted and to send again...... Ho Ho...... And reported to police.
Get regular attempts now but am very much aware. If I am in the mood I will play along just to annoy. Usually just put the phone down.
Felix1
2nd Mar 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
They are a nuisance. I do not answer the phone unless I know who is ringing.
Wilf
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Good policy-same here
StephenR
2nd Mar 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
A few years ago I was unemployed and looking for work when I was approached by a company offering me an interview with several companies on a job fairs day. You had to pay £25.00 for the introductions and a further £50.00if you got a firm offer. The address was a industrial estate in Aberdeen Scotland, I thought there was something not right so phoned the offices they were to be using to be told no such thing had been arranged. This was horrible as they were targeting the unemployed a funerable group and no doubt some paid the fee.
MrsPat
2nd Mar 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
I have the occasional person phoning me who asks some stupid questions like-"This is the police and we need to just check your bank details. Please do not tell anyone about this". I just put the phone down on them and carry on with the housework.
ElainePeony
2nd Mar 2020
0
Thanks for voting!

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