Fraud: spotting it and keeping you and your family safe

Fraud and COVID-19

COVID-19 is a new virus classed as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in March 2020. It’s an ongoing pandemic which represents significant disruption across the UK and the rest of the world. During this time of uncertainty, we want to help you keep your finances safe and will update this page regularly with any updates or alerts which we think will be of use to you.  However, if you have any concerns or would like to speak to someone at Hodge, please just get in touch.

Fraud: spotting it and keeping yourself safe

Unfortunately, as technology improves, so too do the methods fraudsters use to take advantage of it.

During this difficult time, the number of community-spirited, kind-hearted gestures far outweigh the opportunistic, negative ones but it pays to remain vigilant. With this in mind, Hodge has put together this simple guide to help our customers stay alert.

Step 1 – recognising fraud

Fraud comes in many guises and, while we don’t want anyone to feel more scared or uncertain during this difficult time, we think it’s always worth being armed with the facts.

Action Fraud defines fraud as:

“…trickery used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person. Cybercrime is any criminal act dealing with computers and networks.”

Essentially it’s using deception to trick someone into giving away something of value.

Fraud can be committed against individuals and companies alike and it’s sometimes linked to major events or unusual circumstances – the Coronavirus pandemic being an obvious example.

In recent weeks there have been countless stories of communities working together to support their most vulnerable, and tales of generosity from up and down the country. But unfortunately, there will always be those who wish to take advantage of this generosity.

Step 2 – understanding different types of fraud

There are many different types of fraud, from financial and business, to cyber and telecoms, there are countless ways criminals will try their luck.

Action Fraud has a helpful list of the different types of fraud, but here are two to keep an eye out for in the current climate:

Phishing emails

Phishing emails can appear very convincing, but there are a few things you can look out for which may reveal an email to be not quite what it seems, including:

  • Spelling mistakes or grammatical errors
  • Being addressed to Sir or Madam rather than you directly
  • Unusual email addresses – if you check the address it may appear legitimate at first, but look closer, it may not be as legitimate as it first appeared
  • They may offer something of value for free, for example lots of phishing emails currently claim to be from a local council offering money in line with the Government’s COVID-19 initiatives
  • There will often be a sense of urgency to create a sense of panic that you should respond immediately. You should never feel pressured to respond.

Generous strangers

Of course there are some lovely people who just want to offer help during these turbulent times, but South Wales Police offers the following advice to help you stay safe:

  • Make sure you’re only accepting help from people you know and trust
  • Don’t hand over cash in advance if someone is picking up your shopping and definitely and don’t hand over your credit or debit card
  • Ask volunteers to leave groceries on the doorstep
  • If someone claims to be from a company or organisation, ask for and check identification
  • If you have one, then make sure to use a door chain to put you in control
  • If you need help, contact appropriate and trusted organisations such as Age UK, Action for Elder Abuse or Citizens Advice.

Step 3 – how Hodge will help you protect yourself from Fraud

At Hodge, we have the latest technology in place to provide around the clock protection for all Hodge customers as uncertainty around the Coronavirus continues.

It’s important to remember your bank will never call, email or text and ask you to:

  • Reveal your PIN code, expiry date, the last three digits of the security code on the back of your card (CVV number), or anything else
  • Transfer money between accounts
  • Share account details including user IDs, memorable details or passwords
  • Tell them your Personal Security Number (PSN) for Telephone Banking.

Step 4 – where to get help if you think you’re a victim of fraud

We would like offer reassurance to our customers we will offer help and support if you think you’re a victim of fraud. We’re committed to supporting our customers not only during periods of widespread disruption such as this, but on a continual basis. If you think you’d benefit from talking to us so we can tailor the service we provide for you, please contact us using this number 0800 028 3746.

Organisations who can help if you’re a victim of fraud