Contrary to what you might think, identity theft and identity fraud are not new ideas. Even in the bible, the tale of Jacob and Esau is about a brother assuming the other’s identity to con their blind father. In a few of William Shakespeare’s plays he also relies heavily on stolen or mistaken identity for dramatic or comedic effect. But living in a digitally connected world, as we do, it has become no laughing matter.
If you consider that you can access your bank accounts online, apply for credit at the click of a mouse, purchase things and digitally sign legally binding contracts and agreements on your mobile phone from the comfort of your sofa, the potential rewards, and opportunities available to identity thieves and fraudsters are considerable. It is also a growing problem.
Last year alone, there were around 2.5 million attempts at bank fraud in the UK and it is estimated that a fraudulent transaction takes place every eight seconds, at a cost to UK people and businesses of around £520 million per day! That means that in the time it has taken you to read this far, eight fraudulent transactions will have taken place. Sadly, since coronavirus hit, these scams seem to be on the increase, and they appear to be getting more sophisticated and convincing.
That was certainly the case recently for a retired police officer who made national news after he fell foul to a text message scam claiming to be from the Royal Mail. Despite having spent part of his 25 years as a police officer providing people with advice on how to avoid being scammed, the credibility the fraudsters gained by being able to provide details about his bank account, including that he had pending payments, and calling from a phone number which “checked out”, still resulted in them managing to steal £3,000 from him.
So, if an experienced retired police officer can get caught out by fraudsters, does that mean we are all susceptible to falling foul to scammers, ID theft and fraud? Well, the short answer is yes. If you have a phone, social media, email, or a bank account, as most adults in the UK do, you are susceptible to ID theft and fraud. Now, you could take the somewhat drastic approach and do away with all those “modern” conveniences which would reduce your risk considerably, but as Shakespeare showed, even in the 16th century when such things didn’t exist, people still lost out to conmen and fraudsters.
A much better idea is to learn what the threats are, and what you should be looking out for on a daily basis to reduce your risk of being another victim.
That is why Better with Money has developed a webinar to help equip employees with the knowledge and tools they need to protect their personal data, how to avoid becoming victims of fraud or identity theft and information on what to do if they suspect, or are unlucky enough to become a victim of, ID theft or fraud.
By providing financial education in the workplace, Better with Money brings money matters to life in an interesting and accessible way and helps ensure personal finance is never a tragedy, a drama or a comedy of errors.
If you would like to find out more about the courses Better with Money provides, please contact us