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Click for customer safety

7th Apr 2022
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In 2021 more than twenty thousand people were caught by remote access tool scams; resulting in a collective loss of over fifty-seven million pounds. And that’s just the numbers which were reported to Action Fraud, with the true figure believed to be considerably higher.

Remote access tool scams tend to start with either a pop-up message on a browser or with a telephone call. Perhaps pretending to be a bank, the police, or a well known company, fraudsters then try and persuade their potential victims to download a piece of software which allows the fraudsters remote access to the victim’s computer. Once remote access has been gained, the scammers have all the information they need to log into bank accounts, transfer funds and so on.

People are the first line of defence to attempted scams. That’s why Action Fraud has launched a new awareness campaign, reminding people that:

  • banks and other institutions will never call out of the blue requesting remote access to computers and furthermore that,
  • remote access should never be granted as a result of an unsolicited phone call, pop up, or text message.

The Action Fraud campaign also encourages those who believe they may have been scammed to immediately contact their bank and Action Fraud; using a different device from the one which the scammer used as a means of contact. This will help to prevent the scammer ‘staying on line’ and intercepting calls or messages.

Are businesses part of the problem?

This is good advice for individuals and it shouldn’t be forgotten that businesses too can be caught out by scam contacts. But are businesses themselves part of the problem. How many times do we send out texts or e-mails encouraging people to ‘click to see our latest offer,’ ‘click to vote at our AGM,’ ‘click to take part in this survey,’ or even ‘click to unsubscribe.’

Clicking is easy and quick and encourages interactions. However, with scammers finding ways to disguise originator information, by encouraging clicking are businesses opening up the way for scammers to slip through the awareness net? You know that all of your links are legitimate but the more we encourage customers to click, are we creating a culture in which clicking seems normal and there is therefore little thought when just one more unsolicited e-mail pops up asking for a click.

Perhaps one solution which businesses could consider is to offer customers an alternative way of contacting them in response to communications. Adding a sentence such as ‘if you would prefer not to click a link you can also contact us via our website www.xxxxx/pagea’ might just help to encourage awareness of contact options and make people think before clicking that link.

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