Applying for credit and managing your finances has never been more convenient than it is today.
But there are some scammers who try to take advantage of this.
So, we’re here to share a few tips that can help keep you and your money safe. Keep these in mind whenever you check your bank balance, apply for credit or respond to emails.
Who’s on the phone?
If you’re called out of the blue by someone offering you a loan, be careful. Most reputable lenders will never cold call you.
"If you feel suspicious about a caller, never share your personal details."
Even if you have applied for a loan or credit card online and are expecting a call to finalise the details, if something seems odd or just a little ‘off’ about the caller, you’re free to hang up. You can then visit the website of the company they claim to be from and call the phone number listed. If they’re for real, the company will be able to put you through to finish your conversation.
Pay attention to where the call is coming from too. Most real financial service companies will never call you from a mobile number. And if you’re suspicious about who’s calling you, report it to your mobile or landline provider so they can trace the call.
Ask you to reply or follow a link and add your account details.
Email you from a ‘Gmail’, ‘Yahoo!’ or ‘Hotmail’ email address, etc.
Legitimate banks and lenders will always provide their company’s registered address somewhere in the email. And most will use the name you have registered with them to address you when they email you, although some automated messages may still contain ‘Dear Customer’.
A quick thing you can do to check the sender is legitimate is to click reply to the email (don’t worry – you don’t actually have to send an email, some of these email addresses aren’t set up to receive them).
So, if you get an email from Ocean Finance, for example, the address that comes up in the recipient bar should contain our domain information - oceanfinance.co.uk. If there is an offer or application contained within an email, you should also see this domain address contained in the destination URL – on a PC you can do this by hovering your mouse over the link without clicking.
What are you paying for?
If you apply for credit, whether it’s a loan, credit card or mortgage, and the person you’re talking to asks you to pay a sum of money so they can “process” your application – stop! This is not something that’s widely done today.
In fact, if the person you’re talking to asks for money to complete your application, just hang up the phone and start your search again. You shouldn’t have to pay to borrow.
There are plenty of other ways to stay safe online and on the phone:
Never use the same password twice
Never write your passwords, PINs or account details down
Always log out of your account, particularly if you’ve accessed it over a public computer or Wi-Fi network
Update your computer’s security software regularly
Check your statements regularly, and if there are payments you don’t recognise, let your bank know
Trust your gut – if you’re suspicious about something, play it safe and don’t take the risk.
For further information, or to report a suspected fraud, please visit Action Fraud.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.