How to dodge phishing scams and push payment fraud

Phishing and push payment fraud are two of the most common financial scams. Here's show to protect yourself.

Female Estate Agent On Phone Outside Residential Property For Sale

Don't transfer the payment for your house to fraudsters

Financial scamming is becoming increasingly sophisticated. One of the most common ploys to look out for is "phishing". This usually involves an email from what appears to be a legitimate source, such as HM Revenue & Customs or payments processor PayPal.

These emails will usually tell you that your account has been locked or that you are entitled to a refund of some sort, and will prompt you to click on a link. It will direct you to a page asking for your details to correct the problem or process the refund. But this will be a fake website in the guise of the organisation the email professes to be from, and will use the data provided to steal your identity or your money.

Alternatively, the email will ask you to open an attachment, which will then install a virus on your computer to collect your information. You might also receive messages of this type via text or phone call.

To avoid falling victim to phishing, be very suspicious of emails promising an unexpected refund or requesting login or personal details. Look at the sender's email. The name will look legitimate, but the associated email address may well be off in some way. It could contain a string of letters or have a strange suffix instead of "co.uk". While some messages may look obviously fake the logo may look amateurish, for instance others will be deceptively realistic. If you think there may really be a problem with an account you hold, check by logging in or looking up a phone number yourself .

Push payment fraud

As it can be so difficult to spot this kind of fraud, it can be a good idea to ring your solicitor, for instance, (again via a number you haven't sourced from the email) to check the account details.

Or you could do a test payment of £1 and then ring the solicitor to confirm they received it. Push-payment fraud can be especially troubling: it can be hard for people to claim a refund from their bank given they made the transfer voluntarily. Still, several banks have pledged to refund victims of this type of fraud.

Recommended

UK inflation is at a 30-year high and it hasn’t peaked yet
Inflation

UK inflation is at a 30-year high and it hasn’t peaked yet

UK inflation has hit 5.4% - its highest in 30 years. And it could be heading higher. John Stepek explains what it means for you and your money.
19 Jan 2022
How to save money when getting a divorce
Personal finance

How to save money when getting a divorce

If you're thinking of getting a divorce, waiting for the new laws in the next tax year could ensure a difficult process becomes a lot cheaper.
18 Jan 2022
Amazon halts plans to ban UK Visa credit card payments
Personal finance

Amazon halts plans to ban UK Visa credit card payments

Amazon has said that it is to shelve its proposed ban on UK customers making payments with Visa credit cards.
17 Jan 2022
What's driving the cost of living crisis?
UK Economy

What's driving the cost of living crisis?

Soaring bills, inflation and tax rises are about to squeeze household incomes. And it doesn’t seem that there is much the government can do about it.
15 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022
Stockmarkets

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022

Forget Covid-19 – it’s the unexpected twists that will rattle markets in 2022, says Matthew Lynn. Here are five possibilities
31 Dec 2021
US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?
Inflation

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?

US inflation is at 7% – the last time it was this high interest rates were at 14%. But instead of panicking, markets just shrugged. John Stepek explai…
13 Jan 2022
Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise
Tech stocks

Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise

The realisation that central banks are about to tighten their monetary policies caused a sell-off in the tech-heavy Nasdaq stock index and the biggest…
14 Jan 2022