RENOWNED British actor Simon Callow – star of Notting Hill, Shakespeare in Love and Four Weddings and a Funeral – takes centre stage in a new campaign from NatWest to warn the public about the dangers of fraud this Hallowe’en.
The release of The Scammer House of Horrors, a free downloadable book, follows new research of 2,000 UK adults which reveals that three quarters of Brits have been targeted by scammers, with an average of £350.50 stolen per victim.
The BAFTA-nominated actor narrates three tales rooted in real-life case studies of frightful frauds and scary scams, after it was revealed that 85 per cent of Brits are worried about falling victim to a scam and half believe they could do more to protect themselves from the dangers.
Based on three of the top 10 most prevalent scams people say they have been targeted by – romance, invoice redirection fraud and cryptocurrency – each story outlines the scary fate of an unsuspecting member of the public.
Twisted Fate details how fake cryptocurrency investment offerings can swindle individuals out of their earnings through false promises.
Romance is Dead is a deceptively alluring romance scam which highlights the modern risks of online dating.
The Final Demand brings to life the horrors of an invoice redirection scam, showing how a small business owner is targeted by a fake “supplier” claiming their details have changed and that they require a new invoice.
The NatWest research, conducted by OnePoll, has shown that education is key, with three quarters of participants stating they don’t know what money muling is and 71 per cent saying they couldn’t identify the signs of invoice redirection fraud and other modern scams such as fake cryptocurrency investments.
More than a quarter aren’t doing as much as they could to protect themselves against fraudsters, using the same password for all devices and personal accounts.
As technology advances and scams become trickier to spot, 60% of Brits claim to have been approached by a scam on social media, and three quarters believe social media giants should do more to stop fraudulent activity happening on the platforms.
A third have seen a celebrity, whose identity is often used without their knowledge in fake ads, advertising an investment product that promises high returns.
Nearly half of those looked further into it and made the investment, with 21 per cent feeling more confident in the investment because it was fronted by a famous person.
In recent years, Callow has been approached by a fraudster and admitted that if it weren’t for his husband being informed on the subject and intercepting the scam, he would have fallen victim to what he has described as a “close call”.
He also shared the story of a close friend who lost their entire quarter-of-a-million-pound life savings to a scam.
“It’s frightening how advanced scams have evolved to be,” said the 73-year-old.
“I find it increasingly difficult to stay savvy to the dangers, so it’s more important than ever that we, as a nation, continue to educate ourselves on the new types of scams emerging, so as not to be taken advantage of.
“As someone who very nearly fell victim to these sophisticated scamming procedures and knows someone who lost their entire life savings, I’m extremely happy to be helping NatWest in its mission to educate the public and allow everyone to keep their finances safe.”
Click here to watch The Scammer House of Horrors.