Swinton Insurance issues scams warning to policyholders

30th April 2021

New information from Insurance broker specialists Swinton Insurance, results in them asking people to beware of bogus claims companies.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau stated that at least one insurance scam takes place every minute in the UK, resulting in £3 billion being made from insurance fraud victims.

Insurance claims companies are creating Google adverts using reputable brands’ trademarks as a tool to pass themselves off as genuine insurance brokers, misleading and tricking several unsuspecting customers.

Dan Athorn, Swinton’s Head of Claims, said:

Although insurance fraud has been around for some time now, unfortunately, Covid -19 has presented itself as an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of vulnerable customers. Raising awareness of insurance fraud is vital to prevent consumers from being out of pocket, especially in current difficult financial times.

Swinton are working with Google on a defence strategy to prevent bogus claims companies from committing fraud and jeopardising customers confidential information. They are issuing a warning to customers across the UK to remain vigilant of who they share their information with and strongly recommends those unsure of site or correspondence legitimacy to visit or contact Swinton Insurance directly on 0333 035 9003 or visit https://www.swinton.co.uk/make-a-claim/

With reports of online fraud, unfortunately, ramping up amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Swinton Insurance has compiled a list of 10 steps to prevent falling victim to cyber fraud.

10 Steps to Prevent Cyber Fraud

  1. Always check the source of an email or text message

    Can it really be trusted? If you have received a suspicious email, the best way to check if it is from a trusted source is to click on the sender to view the email address it has been sent from. Does this match with the contact information you have for this company? If you are wary, contact the trusted company through their website by typing the URL into the search bar of your browser, rather than responding to the email.

    An unverified source could leave you open to authorised push payment (APP) fraud, which is a common means of deception. Fraudsters will gain access to information via a hacked email account, and then present themselves as a company or person that is known to the victim, before asking for payment. Criminals can even replicate email addresses to make it appear like they are a trustworthy source — so it’s vital you double-check where the email has come from.

  2. Avoid clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails or texts

    Clicking on links in unsolicited messages could result in a virus or malware being put onto your computer. This malware can track your behaviour, including monitoring the passwords that you use. Always question an unsolicited query via a number or website that you know to be correct, as this can help to prevent identity theft.

    In a world where we live our lives online, identity theft could be one of the scariest forms of fraud out there. Criminals will steal your personal information such as National Insurance Number, bank details and even social media accounts, and use them without your permission for their own financial gain. To prevent identity theft, use a secure web browser, regularly run malware or virus checks on your computer, and be diligent and keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your accounts.

  3. Don’t hand over personal information or bank details

    You should never disclose your National Insurance number, bank details, passport or driving licence online, without double-checking that they are a trusted source. The term ‘phishing’ refers to emails or texts that replicate a trustworthy source in order to trick victims into parting with personal information or money.

    If possible, try to speak to somebody using a phone number written on official correspondence, before sending payments or setting up a Direct Debit. Always log in to your account directly, or pick up the phone to speak to customer service. Alternatively, click on the sender to view the email address that the email was sent from. If in doubt, check with the supposed sender, the police (call 101) or a trusted family member.

  4. If in doubt, contact your bank

    If you have reason to believe you have fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number that you know to be correct. You can find this number on a bank statement or on the back of your debit or credit card. Often, banks can act quickly through their dedicated anti-fraud departments to ensure that your account is frozen before money is withdrawn.

  5. Know the signs of fraudulent behaviour

    As the old saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it’s usually because it is. It’s important for members of the public to have their wits about them at all times when using the internet. Even people using online dating sites can fall victim to fraud.

    When dating online, avoid giving away too many personal details. Scammers will try to gain your trust by suggesting their own verification procedures like calling a number or going to a website that they have created. They know how to appeal to your emotions and will create a sense of urgency. If you have suspicions, stop correspondence immediately and contact Action Fraud.

  6. Think before you act

    If you’re being pressured to act quickly, it could be a scam. Step back and take some time to assess the situation. Implement what you’ve learned. Do you have any suspicions, or do you need a second opinion? A trusted friend or family member will always be able to help. Remember that it is OK to reject, refuse and ignore requests.

  7. Report fraudulent activities

    Online fraud is a crime — even if you have given the criminal your details. It’s vitally important that in order to prevent further attacks, you firstly contact your bank and then secondly report it to both the Police and Action Fraud. You can forward suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspected scam texts to your mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726.

  8. Be aware of COVID-19 related scams

    Whether you’ve been enticed by a deal on hand sanitiser or face masks, or have received an email telling you to pay for your vaccinations, there are plenty of coronavirus-related scams out there that can have real negative consequences. Criminal fraudsters are experts at impersonations, and they rely upon you letting your guard down. So before you act upon an impulse, take a moment to think about it.

    Known online COVID-19 scams

    ●     Fake emails requiring payment upfront for vaccines

    ●     Fake emails about tax refunds as a result of the pandemic

    ●     Fake ‘COVID-secure’ or ‘refundable’ holidays or travel deals

    ●     Hacking of online streaming accounts

    ●     Online shopping fraud via sites like eBay, Depop, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree

    ●     Fake job adverts where ‘successful applicants’ are required to hand over details

    ●     Fake insurance policies that cover anything COVID-19 related

  9. Use a secure payment method when internet shopping

    When buying online, check that the website is secure by looking for the padlock symbol inside of the address bar. If you click on that padlock, you will be able to view information on the site certificate. You should also use secure payment methods like Paypal, or a credit or debit card to pay online.

  10. Pay attention to online reviews

Before making a purchase, double-check that the site is trustworthy by looking at their reviews, whether that’s on Google, TripAdvisor or Trustpilot. Sites like Trustpilot verify reviewers so that you can rely upon them being honest. This will help you to make informed decisions about where you input your details.