Over 80% fail to spot online scams in survey

More than 80% of respondents to a survey by a UK bank failed to correctly spot email and other online scams claiming to be from reputable sources.

The TSB survey showed 10 genuine and 10 fake alerts from third parties to 2,000 people and asked them to determine which were fake and which were genuine. Only 18% managed to correctly identify all the fake alerts with more than a third (37%) admitting they would respond to the messages purporting to come from a bank.

Young people aged between 18-24 were most likely to fall victim to smishing online scams, according to the survey. Smishing is the term used for scam alerts that are carefully designed to look authentic in order to trick the respondent into believing it is genuine.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, TSB say they have seen a significant spike in smishing attacks. Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB, said: “Unfortunately, fraudsters are becoming increasingly clever in using technology such as text messages to impersonate banks and other companies, all to trick people out of their hard-earned money. “Our findings show how convincing these messages can appear, and highlight a worrying proportion of people who could be caught out. The emotional and financial impact of fraud can be devastating – which is why we reimburse all our customers should they ever fall victim and invest in partnerships with police forces to hunt down the criminals behind these attacks.”

Key tips to look out for if you receive an email or text are not to click on any links unless you are sure they are genuine. Banks never put links in direct emails or texts so instead log in to your account by going to their website rather than clicking a link. Also never ring a number listed on an alert as it could be fraudulent. Many scams will not have a genuine email address from where the alert would have originated so this is another tell-tale sign of potential fraud.

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