Lloyds Bank calls on Brits to fight against fraud by kickstarting conversations on scam spotting

26 April 2020

  • Over 70% have worried about someone they know falling victim to fraud within the last month
  • In the UK, half of those more worried about falling victim to scams in the last month have seen an increase in fraud attempts since March
  • TV presenter Helen Skelton is hosting an Instagram Live with Lloyds Bank fraud expert, Paul Davis, to help families talk about how to stay safe from scams

Lloyds Bank is calling on families to join the frontline in the fight against fraud as a third of Brits report an increase in scam calls and texts since the beginning of March, according to new research.

The survey of over 4,500 UK adults revealed that almost one in four (23%) admit to worrying more about a family member falling victim to fraud since the beginning of March.

The study also found that one in three people aged 55 and over worry about becoming a victim of fraud at least once a month. Despite this, a fifth (19%) never talk about their finances with anyone. Over a quarter (27%) of those who said they would like to talk about money more with their family feel embarrassed about the topic and nearly a fifth (18%) worry that it would lead to arguments.

Lloyds Bank is calling on families to be the first line of defence by talking openly about fraud to help protect each other. Taking action to talk especially with elderly relatives is important as one in four UK adults (26%) are particularly worried about them falling victim to scams in the current environment.

As an official Friends Against Scams partner and a champion of destigmatising the subject of money and finances through the M-Word campaign Lloyds Bank has partnered with Relate – the UK’s largest provider of relationship support – to equip people with tools they need to spot the signs of scams and how to tackle the topic of fraud with family members.

Paul Davis, Retail Fraud Director at Lloyds Bank, said: “We’re seeing new scamming techniques emerge in recent weeks as fraudsters race to find new ways of convincing people to hand over their cash.

“Helping to keep our customers’ money safe is an absolute priority, and the more we know about the different types of scams and how to spot the signs, the safer we will all be – and we believe everyone has a role to play.

“Although it can be uncomfortable, talking to the people we love about how scammers gain people’s trust is the first step in being able to stop fraudsters in their tracks. We are calling on families to be the first line of defence across the country, to use these tools and learn more about the dangers. We want to give people the confidence to take action to help protect their loved ones from the devastating effects of scams.”

While many think they can spot a scam, with the majority (87%) of Brits saying they would feel confident about recognising the signs of financial fraud, general research and experience shows that they might be over-confident. Lloyds Bank’s research reveals that one in ten (10%) are not even aware of any of the most common types of fraud such as impersonation scams, safe account scams, purchase scams or investment scams. Nearly three in five (59%) fraud victims say that if they had been more aware of the different types of fraud, they could have prevented it from happening to them.

Stephen Lea, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Exeter and expert on fraud psychology commented, “If somone’s telling you to take an important decision without talking to anyone, that person is almost certainly a fraudster. Regardless, if significant sums of money are involved, it’s always a good idea to talk to someone you trust before you commit – your partner, a parent, a grown-up son or daughter, or a good friend.

“If you feel awkward about having the conversation or if it is nagging at you, that is often a sign that you should have the conversation. A good way of getting that conversation going is to imagine it to yourself first and think what your loved one’s response might be to help you prepare.”

Lloyds Bank has recently announced additional services to support vulnerable customers through the crisis including launching a dedicated telephone service for over 70s and prioritising services for vulnerable customers and NHS workers.

When asked about the one person in their immediate family whom they would approach to talk to about their financial situation, over a fifth (22%) would go to their mum, followed by their children (20%) then their dad (13%). For those aged 55 and over, more than two-fifths (42%) would choose to talk to their son or daughter.

Those polled said that the top five reasons they would choose that person were:

  1. Feeling comfortable talking to them about anything (47%)
  2. Trusting their judgement (43%)
  3. Being closest to them in the family (33%)
  4. Thinking they are good with their money so could help (28%)
  5. Feeling that they would not be judged (24%)

In talking about fraud, the stigma and embarrassment that some might feel if they fall victim to a scam is also removed. TV presenter Helen Skelton knows this first-hand after having fallen victim to fraud where she lost £70,000.

She said: “I wasn’t worried about being scammed. You always think that it is something that happens to someone else and that you’ll know when it’s happening to you. But scammers are getting more and more sophisticated when it comes to targeting individuals. That is why talking to each other, especially our parents and grandparents, will help us all grow our understanding about the different fraud out there and ultimately protect each other which is the most important thing.”

For further help and support on staying safe from scammers, join Helen Skelton and Paul Davis on Instagram Live on Wednesday 29 April at 17:00 as they discuss how to talk about fraud and how to start a conversation with your family.

For more information visit Lloyds Bank’s Protect Yourself From Fraud.

Relate’s Top Tips On Starting a Conversation about Fraud:

  • Listen Allow your loved one time to share their own thoughts and experiences. They may have some fears they want to share. They may have also some good practical tips that you would benefit from.
  • Research If they have particular concerns then research these together to alleviate any fears and find the best guidance for what to do.
  • Support If they have been a victim of fraud, or think they may have been, help them to get in touch with the appropriate authorities. Anyone who thinks they may be a victim can check the bank’s website for the registered number to call or use the number on the back of their card.
  • Choose the right time and place Pick a convenient time and a place which is private so that you won’t be disturbed. Face-to-face will be difficult for most people right now so try phoning or video calling, as long as it’s secure. Don’t put off the conversation until after lockdown has ended as scammers are taking advantage and it may be too late.
  • Start the conversation As a conversation starter, mention a story about fraud that you’ve seen in the news or something that happened to a friend. Say it got you thinking about the topic and what actions you could take to avoid it happening to you.
  • Be vulnerable Don’t be afraid to show your own vulnerability. You could say, “I was almost tricked – it’s so easy for these fraudsters to catch you out”. This will help to minimise any feelings of shame or embarrassment your relative may be feeling.
  • Take action Talk about some of the measures you have put in place yourself. Rather than saying “I think you should do this” say “I’m going to be doing this to protect myself from fraud,” for example adding an additional password – "would you like me to set this up for you too?”
  • Share knowledge Say you’ve heard about a new type of scam and how older people are being targeted. Ask if they would be able to mention this to their friends in case any are affected. That way you are mentioning it to them, so they are aware without putting the whole focus on them.
  • Don’t patronise Avoid using patronising language and talking down to the person. Treat it as a two-way conversation.
  • Don’t catastrophise Avoid using catastrophising language. It’s good to make people aware and alert but it’s important to strike a balance and avoid increasing anxiety. This can be tricky, but it helps to consider the person’s personality and circumstances so that you can gauge how to approach it.
  • Come back to it It’s great to have an initial conversation but do try to revisit the topic at a later date as well. You could talk to them again after a couple of weeks to update them on the measures you’ve put in place yourself and see if they mention having done the same.