Aussies better than Poms? The great scam site debate
Posted on 6th May 2019
A lot of individuals have been scammed online. In the UK in 2017, according to a survey by Action Fraud (a UK police initiative) and TalkTalk (the latter having had their own issues with a major hack of their site in October 2015), the most common online fraud is via internet shopping and auctions; basically, where the goods are either misrepresented or not delivered. Caveat emptor is the golden rule here.
The second most common online scams are computer service frauds – the kind of thing where the nice man/woman calls to tell you that a) your BT line is about to be cut-off or that they will solve the problem you have with Microsoft. Just hang up. If you do have a problem with BT or Microsoft then contact them yourself.
The third and fourth most commons scams involved email and personal computer hacks (i.e. where someone gets access to your computer). I was slightly surprised that these were actually a lot less common than the online shopping/auction frauds, with the email and personal scams comprising a total of just under 16,000 cases, as opposed to nearly 67,000 cases of shopping fraud.
Another survey, by Santander from 2017, suggests that 20% of over 60-year olds have had at least 10 scam calls in 2017, with £401 being lost on average as a result. From what older folks tell me, I am amazed that it’s as few as 10 calls a year.
Scamming is big business. In the course of researching this blog I came across a really good website which shows the extent of the problem (in money/numbers affected). Called “Scamwatch,” it’s been produced by the government. The only problem for us is that it’s the Australian government.
Scamwatch.gov.au shows not just the size of the problem (AS$25,431,578, based on 50,679 reports of incidents, at the time of writing) but also a lot of useful information that the average citizen might want to know about in order to prevent becoming a victim of a scam.
In contrast, here in the UK, our government’s version is, in my opinion, rather poor. I’ve attached screengrabs of the Australian and UK versions so you can make up your own mind.
Finally, there is another website – scamwatch.uk – which does have a lot of information on it from a number of sources, including Action Fraud, the National Crime Agency, Trading Standards eCrime team and other sources. There is also “advice and resources to help protect yourself from scams and other information about how to report a scam if you do become a victim of one.” Perversely, scamwatch.uk does not seem to be an https site, and so a “Not secure” warning is flagged up when you click through to it. This does not mean that it is in itself dodgy, but does of course mean that information sent and received by the site (or any other site that generates a “Not Secure” warning) is not protected and potentially could be accessed and used for nefarious purposes by hackers. Is it any wonder the criminals are winning?
Matt Druce, Be-IT
Posted in News, Opinion
.. Back to Blog