Advisers have been urged to help clients and prospective clients say 'no' to scam calls.
With research showing that nearly one in every four people find it difficult to say no to a stranger on the phone, the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign has been urging people to share their Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign.
The campaign group - a coalition of banks, insurers and other financial services companies, spearheaded by UK Finance, and backed by the government - is urging the public to follow its 'stop, challenge and protect' initiative when asked for their information or money.
The group has urged trusted advisers to warn the public about the increase in fraudulent calls, texts and emails as new figures from UK Finance show the number of impersonation scam cases more than doubled in the first half of 2021 to 33,115.
These scams resulted in criminals stealing £129.4m through this type of fraud alone over this time. In the same period last year there were 14,947 impersonation scam cases which led to £57.9m being stolen.
As reported by FTAdviser earlier this year, the Financial Conduct Authority, industry figures and senior government ministers have called for tighter controls over scam advertising and fraudulent financial targeting, particularly amid the pandemic when even more people were facing isolation and vulnerability.
Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham and chairperson of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, told FTAdviser a co-ordinated approach was the best way to tackle "life-ruining" scams: "We have got to gear up to respond effectively to [scams]. There is a lot the government needs to do."
He also said there was a "fundamental requirement for a change in the law" to combat fraudulent material appearing online.
But even with more awareness around fraud, research for the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, carried out by One Poll among 2,000 UK consumers, found 19 per cent of people said they felt uncomfortable saying ‘no’ to a request for personal information from a stranger via email or text, rising to almost a quarter (23 per cent) when it came to phone calls.
Overall, 92 per cent of people admitted to saying ‘yes’ because they did not want to appear rude.
The research also found that people used all sorts of phrases to avoid saying ‘no’, with the most popular being ‘I’m not sure’ (used by 37 per cent), followed by ‘I don’t think so’, ‘Let me think about it’, and ‘I can’t at the moment’ (all 34 per cent), and this can give criminals a way in.
To help people stay safe, the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign advice is to:
- STOP: Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
- CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
- PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
Tony Blake, Take Five fraud expert, said: “Criminals are experts at pretending to be someone they are not – and can fool even the savviest of people, who don’t want to seem rude.