How to spot a scam online and avoid cyber fraud

According to the most recent data from UK Finance, the bank lobby group, the number of push payment victims rose to 149,946 last year, up by 22pc compared to the previous year

There have been moves to make it easier for account holders to see where they are sending their money and decide whether what they are being asked to do adds up. 

“Confirmation of payee” means you will be told by your online banking service if a name and account details do not match. UK Finance warned account holders to be wary if they are told to ignore this message, as it is likely they are being lied to. But not all banks have adopted this scheme.

Many high street banks have also agreed to a reimbursement code for consumers caught genuinely off guard. 

If all else fails and you have fallen for a scam and handed over either your details or money, then contact your own bank and Action Fraud immediately.

Other scams to guard against

While many of these scams are new or have evolved from older tricks, there are still more traditional frauds to look out for. If a potential romantic partner emails you out of the blue, wins you over and then needs a loan, this could be a scam.

According to Citizens Advice’s Jane Parsons, boiler room schemes and dodgy doorstep sellers are still something to be wary of.

She said typical red flags would include the following:

  • It seems too good to be true – for example, a laptop that is much cheaper than you’d expect

  • You’ve been asked to pay in cash upfront, transfer money quickly, or pay in an unusual way, like by iTunes vouchers or a money transfer service 

  • You’ve been asked to give away personal information like passwords or Pins

And if you’ve been scammed once, you may well be scammed again. Repeat victims of fraud were conned out of £373m last year, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and the City of London Police. The average loss for victims who had been scammed before was £21,121, the figures revealed.