Personal Finance | 15 April 2024

How to Catch a Fraudster – your questions answered

Financial crime expert Catriona Still answers your questions on the international costs of fraud and the best ways to keep yourself safe from scams.

Following our online event ‘How to Catch a Fraudster’, Catriona Still from UK Finance’s Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit has taken the time to answer some of the audience questions we weren’t able to cover live.

How does the UK £1.2bn fraud total compare with other countries?

£1.2bn can only be attributed to those that report fraud to their respective banks. This is for retail fraud only. We are unable to compare ourselves to other countries as not many countries collaborate in the way we do and still see fraud as a competitive issue – i.e. they don’t share with each other. There is however an interesting article I have come across from another organisation which compares statistics – Fraudscape: The size of the fraud problem around the world - Social Market Foundation.

Why can't you trace criminals through the bank account details they are asking you to pay into?

Criminals multi-layer how they disseminate their funds, so they will use ‘money mules’ in order to do so. This makes it almost impossible to follow the funds, especially once the monies are moved out of the UK. However, the government has recently highlighted a new action plan to target money mules –  Biggest ever crackdown on money mules in the UK - GOV.UK.

How safe is a platform like LastPass to store passwords?

Password managers are a very useful tool and are recommended by the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Economic Crime Centre. You can read more here - Password Managers - NCSC.GOV.UK.

Is it safe to share date of birth details when asked for registering with apps and emails?

We recommend not sharing personal information unnecessarily. The National Cyber Security Centre provide the following advice which may be helpful – Individuals & families - NCSC.GOV.UK.

Could you repeat the phone number for reporting an attempted fraud?

7726 is the number you should send all suspicious fraud text messages to. It spells SPAM on your keyboard where the keys have letters on them too.

The telephone number to report fraud to is the Action Fraud number 0300 1232040, or contact Police Scotland if you’re in Scotland.

If you fear you may be subject to fraud or are concerned about any aspect of a situation in which you feel vulnerable then please reach out to your private banker or call Coutts 24 on 020 7957 2424.

All calls with Coutts are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

A reminder from us on using your challenge word

If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from Coutts, ask the caller for your ‘challenge word’. If the caller cannot give this to you hang up straightaway. If you don’t have a challenge word in place then please call Coutts 24 or your banker who will be able to set one up for you. All calls with Coutts are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.


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