In fact, in England and Wales alone, there have been over 6 million cyber-crimes committed in the last 12 months.
While we can't tell you about every scam in the book, the list below are some of the more common things to look out for.
And remember - it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unsure, don’t part with your hard-earned cash.
If you ever receive a request for account verification from a company, visit their website and reach out to their contact centre directly.
Before you part with your money, always make sure that the request has come direct from the company - not someone pretending to be them. Again, if you're unsure - don't hesitate to ask.
Here at TransferWise we will never ask you to send money in advance for account verification, so let us know if you get a request.
Making a transaction online and the offer seems too good to be true? It probably is.
Examples like cheap flats to rent in London, or really good deals on cars are always worth exercising caution over.
If you're using TransferWise, remember that the person you are buying from/sending money to does not need any of your TransferWise account information to receive a payment. You don’t need to provide them with your membership number.
Online companies like Ebay or Gumtree give great scam avoidance advice of their own. It’s always worth checking their pages too before committing financially to something that might not turn out to be what your expecting.
This scam is an old favourite of the bad guys, with newer versions appearing every couple of months.
If any company calls to access your computer to “remove a virus” or “run a scan”, always be careful that the person on the phone is legitimate.
Scams like this often come through cold calls or emails by someone pretending to be from a popular software company. They'll often ask for a small payment to protect your systems from malware.
If you aren’t paying a subscription to an antivirus company, or experiencing issues with your computer or device, you’re better of ignoring. (And then you should probably go speak to a reputable vendor you trust and get your equipment protected).
Another scam that has been around for a long time.
It operates by unsuspecting individuals receiving a notification (usually for a service they have actually used) that they have been paid, sent or refunded too much money. They'll then request to have a portion of it sent back.
While genuine errors like this may happen, it’s often not the case, and the money you are “refunding” is actually going straight to the bad guys.
Always wait to receive any money before sending any refunds back. We’d also recommend contacting the company you have traded with directly to confirm the details before making a payment.
You won the lottery!
You also have a long-lost, super-rich relative, who happens to be a prince! And it must be your lucky day, because the CEO of Gold’n’dosh happens to have a LOT of valuable metal to offload, but you need to act fast!
Sound familiar? These kind of scams are all over the web.
You’ll often be encouraged to send a small donation, or bridging loan, in order to reap a large reward at some point in the near future. Unfortunately it’s likely you'll never see your money again, let alone a return on your investment.
Even if you know the person contacting you, it’s likely that they have lost control of an account. Get in touch with them to check.
Scammers may ask you to send money for different charities.
The likelihood is that the money will go to a worthy cause, but please make sure you have performed a thorough background search on the charity in question before donating your money.
You know the story. Boy meets girl online, and they just click.
Later, that boy sends the girl money. And never hears from them again.
While that tale may never be remade into a Hollywood hit movie, every year thousands of pounds is scammed from people unwittingly through dating websites and social media networks.
Here’s how the con usually works:
A scammer sets up fake profiles that disguise themselves as beautiful men or women, with the promise to come and visit, or better their lives.
A last minute expense crops up that’s not easily verifiable - something that makes you empathise with the situation. Like a mix up with plane tickets that the airline won’t help with, a price hike from the hotel.
You’re then asked to cover that cost. And your dream date disappears.
If you’re sending money to someone, be sure they’re who they say they are first. Simple.
And if you’ve any doubts before making a money transfer, you can always talk with TransferWise Support.
We’re always happy to advise on best practices when sending money abroad. Onwards.