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

New Tricks: Scammers are able to find information about you from a variety of sources, often readily available on the dark web for a few pounds.

LEE BOYCE: Scammers are constantly adapting to attract more victims…it’s crucial that we stay ahead of the game

As long as there are scams, you’ll find Money Mail sniffling around alerting 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 denounced a nasty ruse than they change course.

A year ago, we revealed how a WhatsApp messaging service scam was spreading like wildfire. The so-called “mom and dad scam” has spread across the country, snagging victims who thought they were helping their children financially.

New Tricks: Scammers are able to find information about you from a variety of sources, often readily available on the dark web for a few pounds.

New Tricks: Scammers are able to find information about you from a variety of sources, often readily available on the dark web for a few pounds.

Our report sparked a flurry of media stories, which alerted millions of potential victims to the ruse.

So it’s perhaps no wonder that scammers have turned the ‘mom and dad scam’ into a ‘son and daughter scam’ – as our report reveals today.

What worries me is how scammers can find information about you from various sources, including the dark web for a few books.

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

Just this week, a data breach at retailer JD Sports saw customer information stolen. Up to ten million names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers are now in the wrong hands.

As one insider put it: “The spoils of this massive cyber raid could be the data that triggers a thousand scams.”

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

And please tell your friends and family about the new “son and daughter scam”. A split scam is a halved scam.

Red Rolexes

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

In the first part, we showed you how to make a lot of money by selling unwanted items in your house. Then last week we revealed the secrets of bargain hunting at charity shops, car shoe sales and online auctions – which you can then resell for a profit.

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

A reader, Dave, wrote to me to say that his friend had bought a coffee pot full of wristwatches in the mid-1990s at a car boot sale. Nobody could remove the lid, so he paid £4.

When he got home, he held the jar over a plastic bucket and tapped 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 watch from the late 1950s, Dave says — but he had a hunch. After further examination by a specialist, it turned out to be a rare model…and well worth four figures.

The rest of us are unlikely to be so lucky. But the alluring unpredictability of car trunks and charity shops means I’ll always be a fan.

Off-Grid Success

“I saved £1.24 on my energy bill by walking my dog.” That’s what a friend told me after participating in the demand flexibility service between 9 and 10 a.m. on Monday.

This scheme pays you to reduce energy consumption at certain times of the day. My friend was invited to participate in the first morning session of his energy company.

Supplier Octopus Energy says customers on Monday and Tuesday last week reduced Britain’s power consumption by around 450MWh, the equivalent of Bristol and Liverpool off-grid for one hour.

Octopus adds that it paid out £1million to its 400,000 attendees for last Tuesday night’s event and, on average, customers reduced their consumption by 60%. Impressive numbers that are worth barking up for, I say.

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