This month is #ScamAwareness month. Consider how secure your personal data is and how quickly fraudsters can use it. Discover how to keep safe and how to recover your money in the event that you’re scammed

I think, by now, we’re all generally used to ensuring we tick the boxes to avoid receiving unwanted marketing material or to prevent the sharing of our details with third parties. But, how much thought do we really give to:

  • what we publicly share across our social media profiles and how this might be used?

  • whether the websites we give our details to are secure?

  • the level of security provided when using public WiFi?

How long do you think it takes fraudsters to access and assimilate this information then put it in to use? Months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds?

Within 3 minutes of liking a post on Facebook people were startled at the personal data appearing on their take away coffee cups #datatogo  - check out this video courtesy of @Cifas_UK

Ask yourself:

  • What personal data do you use to set your passwords?

  • How much personal data do you share, not just in one post and in one account, but across it all?

  • How accurately does it all reflect your personal lifestyle and profile?

  • Maybe you don’t post much but your friends often tag you, you like posts or you retweet. How much of a picture does this paint of you? How much of your story does it tell?

Fraudsters no longer need to pay for databases to target their victims. Many of us are quite literally walking victims as we post on the go, eager to keep the world afoot of our activities, preferences and opinions. This information can be frighteningly accessible, then all it takes is:

  • an informed targeted and persuasive call or email catching you off guard, you send the money and you never see anything for it #scammed

  • the sale of your house and purchase of your dream home is intervened and the funds intercepted #hijacked #ConveyancingFraud

  • the bank demands repayment of a £150,000 personal loan, the application contains all of your personal data, the signature looks like yours, but it definitely wasn’t you #IdentityFraud

None of us are invincible to cyber-attacks, being scammed and defrauded.

“Investment scam victims lose an average of £20,000 to fraudsters” @actionfrauduk. “The annual cost of fraud in the UK has been estimated at £193bn – equal to nearly £3,000 per head of population” according to Annual Fraud Indicator 2016 and equating to a cost to the UK of ‘£6k per second’ (@actionfrauduk). However, as City of London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson rightly says “What the report can’t illustrate is the human cost of fraud which ruins lives and blights every community in the UK”. These are scary statistics and that’s only based on what’s actually been reported.

Avoid #datatogo be #fraudalert #scamalert #scamsmart and #protectyourdata #protectyourmoney 

Discover how to keep safe in Part II of this series, coming soon