LEE BOYCE: We must stay one step ahead of the scammers

LEE BOYCE: Scammers are constantly adapting to lure in more victims… it’s crucial we stay one step ahead

For as long as there are scams, you will find Money Mail sniffing around to alert our loyal readers to the dangers.

Our pursuit of these unscrupulous fraudsters is turning into a game of cat and mouse. No sooner have we exposed one nasty ruse, they change tack.

A year ago we revealed how a scam on messaging service WhatsApp was spreading like wildfire. The so-called ‘mum and dad scam’ whipped through the country, hooking in victims who thought they were helping their children financially.

New tricks: Scammers are able to find information about you from a range of sources, often easily available from the dark web for a few quid

Our report triggered a wave of stories across the media, which alerted millions of potential victims to the ruse.

So perhaps it’s no wonder that scammers have flipped the ‘mum and dad scam’ into the ‘son and daughter scam’ — as our report reveals today.

What worries me is how scammers are able to find information about you from a range of sources, including on the dark web for a few quid.

They use this to build trust and add a false layer of authenticity to calls and messages.

Just this week, a data breach at retailer JD Sports has seen customer information stolen. Up to ten million names, email addresses and phone numbers are now in the wrong hands.

As one insider put it: ‘Spoils of this huge cyber raid could be the data that launches a thousand scams.’

Even knowing the last few digits of a person’s credit or debit card can be enough to carry out a confidence trick, the insider adds. So, treat absolutely all texts, phone calls and emails with caution. Take your time and, remember, fraudsters are slick talkers and often run sophisticated criminal operations.

And please tell friends and family about the new ‘son and daughter scam’. A scam shared is a scam halved.

Rolex reddies

Thank you for all of your wonderful emails about our recent Never Go Broke series.

In part one, we showed you how to make a pile of money selling unwanted items in your home. Then last week we revealed the secrets of hunting down bargains in charity shops, car boot sales and online auctions — which you can then sell on for profit.

For example, if you know what to look for, winter coats you buy in charity shops can often fetch far more on Facebook Marketplace, Vinted, Depop or eBay.

One reader, Dave, wrote to me saying that his friend bought a coffee jar full of wrist watches in the mid-1990s at a car boot sale. No one could get the lid off, so he paid £4.

When he got home he held the jar over a plastic bucket and hit it carefully with a hammer. Inside was a Rolex with a black dial. In the early 2000s, Dave bought it from his friend for £400.

It didn’t look like anything special — just a classic wind-up late-1950s timepiece, Dave says — but he had a hunch. After closer inspection by a specialist, it turned out to be a rare model… and worth well into four figures.

It’s unlikely the rest of us will be as lucky. But the seductive unpredictability of car boots and charity shops means I will always be a fan.

Off-grid success

‘I saved £1.24 on my energy bill by taking my dog for a walk.’ That’s what a friend told me after partaking in the demand flexibility service between 9am and 10am on Monday.

This scheme pays you to cut energy usage at certain times of the day. My friend was invited to take part in his energy firm’s first morning session.

Supplier Octopus Energy says that on Monday and Tuesday last week, customers reduced Britain’s energy usage by around 450MWh — the equivalent of Bristol and Liverpool going off-grid for an hour.

Octopus adds that it paid out £1 million to its 400,000 participants for last Tuesday night’s event and, on average, customers cut their usage by 60 pc. Impressive figures worth barking about, I say.


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