I’ve got the lurgy, so have spent most of the weekend in bed feeling sorry for myself. There’s literally a storm outside, so I have nothing better to do than rest anyway.
I’ve become obsessed with watching YouTube videos about people’s boring holidays! I just watch vlog after vlog of people wandering around cruise ships or getting on and off trolley tours in Meditteranean cities. Different strokes for different folks innit.
Talking to a robot about potentially being scammed
So I was coughing away, watching an American couple get excited about fancy tea in Florida and got a call from a number I didn’t recognise. I answered and it was one of those robot people.
‘Did you spend £22 at ‘nsdkjnlskdnv’?’ Press 2 if you don’t think so. I couldn’t understand where ‘nsdkjnlskdnv’ was, so pressed 2. I ended up talking to a real person. She asked if a transaction had happened that I didn’t authorise. I said to her that I couldn’t understand the robot person, so if she can tell me where the payment was processed.
She was very polite but said she didn’t have that information on her, but if I give her my sort code and number, she can go through the security stage and let me know.
At that point, I was out of patience, losing my voice so just hung up.
You may think, ‘Bit harsh Lotty – she was only trying to sort out this mess’. But I don’t like it when backs get in touch with me and ask ME for details.
I’ve turned into my mum
When I was a bit younger, I was too shy and not confident in myself to give companies jip. If a ‘grown-up’ called me up and asked for information – they’d get it. I couldn’t question it.
I used to watch my mother giving people hell on the phone in horror, but these days, I’m finding myself clearly turning up to her. If you’re going to cold call me, expect some questions!
A mistake can ruin your life
I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve had more people than I care to mention, contact me, desperate, saying that they have been scammed. They thought they were talking to their bank and they have literally lost their life savings.
I’m sure you can imagine how awful it is to be asked ‘how I tell my wife everything has gone’, when there is no good answer.
There are a million ways banks will want to legitimately get in contact you, but trust me, there are a million ways scammers will impersonate banks as well.
What I do
If a bank or any company contacts me, I always assume it’s a scammer. They ask me questions, I rarely answer and I ask them questions back. I demand proof they are who they say they are.
You may think this is really dramatic of me, but here’s the truth. It’s all on you. It’s your problem. If you give details to a scammer, the banks *usually* cry that it wasn’t their fault because you gave your details away. You are very unlikely to get anything back – even if you contact Action Fraud.
And I PROMISE you, these scammers are super clever. It’s not some bloke from the other side of the world, in broken English asking for your bank details anymore. A friend of mine would get real texts from her bank all the time, but a scammer had managed to sneak their dodgy text in that same thread, nestled in the legitimate texts.
For me – it’s too hard to tell!
So even though banks may not like me saying this – if it’s MY responsibility to protect myself, I’m not going to take a chance when a bank texts or calls me.
Sometimes I’ll just hang up if I’m feeling under pressure or uncomfortable in any way. Sometimes I’ll question a lot and ask for their details. But 9 times out of 10, I won’t give them any of my details, will hang up and call the customer service number on my card to check to see if I was being scammed and fix the problem.
If it’s me calling them, using the number from a legitimate webpage (again, these can be cloned, so go to Google and put in your bank’s details rather than following any links in the potentially dodgy text or email), I can be sure I’m talking to the bank, so am safe. I work hard for my money, I don’t want it lining a scumbag’s pocket!
You’ve got to look after yourself – don’t worry about upsetting or inconveniencing your bank in the slightest.