March 31, 2015
When it comes to April Fool’s Day, are you the prankster... or one of the ‘April fools’?
Of course, April Fool’s Day has a long tradition with tricks and harmless scams done for fun. The BBC famously reported in the 1950's about the annual spaghetti harvest, convincing many people, including the BBC Director General at the time, that spaghetti was grown on trees...mamma mia!
It’s a different story though when a person gets scammed by a professional. These criminals are highly organised and getting scammed by one of them usually ends up costing a lot more than just pride.
According to the Fraud in 2014 Report produced by Cifas, recorded fraud in 2014 increased by 25% compared to 2013. Identity Fraud accounted for 41% of all reported fraud, highlighting the need to be aware of how you handle your own personal data and not letting it fall into the wrong hands.
Victims of fraud report that initial contact was largely through a phone scam or e-mail phishing, with a smaller proportion reporting mail as the initial point of contact.
So what’s the latest scam making headlines – and headway?
Right now consumers are being warned about a phishing scam that follows a big data breach, where cyber criminals use data they have just stolen to phish for even more information.
A data breach last year at TalkTalk is a good example. In the initial data breach, cyber thieves got customer names and account numbers. Then they used that information to phish for more information, according to this Wired report. TalkTalk customers thought they were being contacted by customer service staff but it was a scam and they were tricked into giving out bank details or signing up and paying for security software and services they didn’t need.
This example illustrates why companies who have experienced a breach must notify customers and other individuals that may be involved. It also highlights the importance of putting safeguards in place.