While 18–24 year olds do not make up the largest group of victims of scams, this group has seen a sharp rise in numbers. Social media is a common way in which young people encounter a scam. Action Fraud reported that in 2015, there was a 64% increase on the previous year in the number of people approached on Instagram. Common scams targeting this age group include subscription traps (especially online through social media), identity fraud, job scams and general online fraud.
Cases we’ve seen
The client’s daughter was watching a film on her laptop when the screen suddenly went blank followed by a message stating that if she paid £199.00 to the account shown they would release her screen. His daughter immediately paid by her debit card, then had second thoughts and cancelled it, followed by a phone call to her bank help line. Initially nothing was showing as debited from her account however later in the day she saw that £199.00 had been taken. She then received an email from M&M TECH and shortly after received a telephone call from an Australian phone number. Her computer is now working but the bank cannot refund the money as access to the account was permitted.
A CAB client's employer received a wages arrestment arising from an unpaid Magistrate’s fine for a travel costs in London for a person of his name but a different address. Client has never received court papers, never been in London, and never lived in the stated address. It seems to be an issue with mistaken identity or identity fraud. Despite all this, the arrestment will go ahead and only refunded when client can prove his innocence. This will impact on the client's credit rating in addition to a loss of income while paying a fine he is not liable for. The wage arrestment will be £52.88 per week to come from his wages of £392 per week.
Top tips for young people
- Make sure your computer has a firewall and reputable anti-virus software. Without these, your computer has no defence to block viruses.
- Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
- Check your statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the bank or financial service provider concerned.