Have YOU ended up on a sucker list? Fraudsters compile databases of scam victims – in the belief they can be preyed on and tricked again
A sucker list is a database of people who have previously fallen for a scam.
It is used by fraudsters to target victims seen as vulnerable or more likely to hand over personal details, such as an email address or mobile number.
The lists are often traded between scammers or criminal gangs via the internet. New fraudsters can then use the information to re-target people.
Targets: Sucker lists are used by fraudsters to target victims who are seen as vulnerable or are more likely to hand over their personal details, such as an email address or mobile number
For example, they will contact those previously scammed and promise they can help them recover their lost money for a fee.
As they know the circumstances of the original fraud, victims are more likely to think they are being contacted by a legitimate organisation — but, in fact, it is just another scam.
How did I get on it?
As soon as you respond to a scam message, for example by downloading an email attachment or responding to a text message, you become vulnerable.
When you click on a link, you are giving away data that is valuable to a fraudster, such as your mobile number.
This data is then catalogued by criminals, who can use the information to contact you or sell it on for a profit.
How do I get off it?
Once you are on a list, it is almost impossible to get off it. When scammers have your details — for example, if you send copies of your passport to them — they cannot be recovered.
Jake Moore, a cybersecurity adviser at software company ESET, says: ‘If you think you have been a victim of fraud, consider changing your telephone number and email address.
‘You can also move any suspicious emails to your junk folder and block any numbers you don’t recognise.
‘Never give out personal details over the phone, and think twice before trusting someone with your personal data.’
You can also register with the Telephone Preference Service, which allows you to opt out of unsolicited sales and marketing phone calls.
A target for ever?
‘Being on a suckers list will naturally increase the likelihood that you will be targeted by scams,’ says Mr Moore.
But you won’t necessarily always fall foul of fraudsters. Mr Moore recommends being extra vigilant when you are asked for personal information, and never giving details such as your PIN over the phone.
Although you may be inundated with calls after your data has been shared by fraudsters, this may not last for ever.
How can I be safe?
Always stop and think before you part with your money or information.
Only hand over essential data when you are asked for it, for example when making an online purchase. Set up an email address just to make online purchases and ensure each account has a secure, unique password.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, hang up and call the number on the back of your debit card.
Give callers your full attention. Never reveal personal details while you are distracted or in a rush.
Only fraudsters will rush you.