SMS inheritance tax scam targeting Britons: 6 tips to protect your money | Personal finance | Finance

Globally, millions of people turn to online dating apps or social media to meet someone. In doing so, users share a wide variety of personal data. But hidden in the shadows online, there are scammers ready to target the vulnerable. You may not consider yourself vulnerable, but it’s surprising how many people get caught by scammers. It’s simply a trust trick, and involves a thief pretending to be loving and affectionate to gain the victim’s trust.

How do scammers…

The scammer starts slowly, building trust, making up his story, but at some point he moves on and demands money.

They may claim to be overseas or work on an oil rig – reasons you may not be able to meet in person.

But in fact, they’re sitting in a booth at a “scam factory” alongside teams of other thieves.

The scammer will go to great lengths to gain trust and is known to work in a scam for months or even years. They are masters at using language to persuade and manipulate victims into exploitation.

Once established, criminals gently execute their sting. They ask for money to be sent: it can be for coming to visit, or for a medical bill for a fictitious sick relative, or to pay off a debt. Sometimes it is a suggestion of investing in, for example, a foreign property, or maybe a cryptocurrency.

READ MORE: ‘NEVER click on links’: Seven indications your Royal Mail email or text is a scam

How to spot it

Think twice before parting with your money. Here are some suggestions:

  • stop and think, “take five”, before sharing money or bank details
  • challenge anyone asking for money online
  • protect yourself by informing your bank that someone has tried to scam you and report the incident to Action Fraud if you think you have fallen into the trap of a scam
  • watch out for family members and friends watching for signs that they might be involved in a romance scam, especially if they:

are secretive about their relationship and provide excuses as to why they haven’t met their online partner in person

express strong emotions and commitment to someone they just met

send money to someone they haven’t met in person

DO NOT MISS
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What to do if you’ve been scammed

If you think you have been scammed:

  • write down all the details of the scam
  • report the scam to the police (if it happened in the last 24 hours)
  • protect yourself against other risks and check if you can get your money back, for example by contacting your bank and letting them know you have been scammed
  • report the scam to Citizens’ Advice – they can pass the information to Trading Standards for investigation and possible legal action against the fraudsters
  • report the scam to other organizations such as Action Fraud – this increases the chances of catching the scammers

Tip of the week

If you are asked for money by SMS, remember that no company will ever do it.

Remember: if you have received an SMS that you think is a scam, you can forward it to 7726 or take a screenshot and send it to [email protected]

If you receive a lot of unwanted phone calls or text messages, you may also consider removing your details from data brokers, ensuring that you use a right to object to the processing of your data.

You can read more about this on Rightly to stop sharing your data exposing you to scams. And you can take free training on how to fight scams at www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.

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