Financial scams are the most truly harrowing form of hidden crime in our community.
As the MP for East Surrey I have seen firsthand how horrifying the impact can be when, in 2014, I was approached by a couple from Godstone defrauded out of £40,000 through a telephone scam. This particular scam relied on a technique known as 'vishing', in which fraudsters can stay on the line to intercept subsequent calls after the victim has hung up.
Unfortunately, this is just one of an ever increasing range of sophisticated scams that can lead to financial ruin. They are often targeted at older households, with 70% of over-55s having received a scam email and 36% a scam call, although younger people can be approached too.
After a hard fought battle, I was relieved to be able to help the couple get their money back. However, I know from the experience of other MPs that it is often extremely difficult to recover money once it has been lost. With this in mind, I would encourage everyone to be vigilant, and I hope that the following tips (by no means an exhaustive list) are helpful:
1. Your bank will never email you asking for personal information.
2. Your bank will never ask you to transfer your money to a 'safe account'.
3. Your bank will never ask you for your PIN, and will only ever ask you for part of other personal information,
such as the first and fifth letters of your password.
4. If you are worried about a phone call, always call the bank from a different phone line, or if you can't do this,
wait at least five minutes before making another call.
5. If you are caught out, report it! Do not be embarrassed - by reporting the scam you may be able to recover
your money, or help prevent others falling victim.
Further information and links are available on my website, at: www.samgyimah.com.
Sam Gyimah MP