Busy mothers 'fear hectic schedules could leave them susceptible to fraud'


Around two-fifths of mothers believe their busy lives make them more at risk of fraud, research has found.

Some 38% feel hectic schedules make them more susceptible to scams, according to a survey from Mumsnet and the finance industry-backed national awareness campaign Take Five To Stop Fraud.

More than a third (35%) of mothers surveyed say they are approached up to six times a week by calls, texts or emails in which someone wants to obtain personal information from them.

But nine in 10 (93%) could not identify vishing and smishing as scams when described.

Vishing and smishing are scams whereby criminals convince consumers to hand over valuable personal details or money with phone calls or with messages such as texts and approaches using social media.

Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer and representative for Take Five To Stop Fraud, said: "It's good advice to question texts or emails out of the blue asking for your details, and don't be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. That also means never automatically clicking on a link in an unexpected email or text."

Mumsnet co-founder Carrie Longton said: "Financial scams evolve constantly, and even the savviest people can struggle to keep up with new scamming techniques."

Nearly 750 mothers took part in the survey.

Mumsnet and Take Five are offering tips for people receiving texts and emails to follow, particularly during the busy run-up to Christmas:

Smishing - signs a text message might not be genuine:

1. It asks you to provide sensitive personal or financial information, passwords, or to make transactions by following a link to the message.

2. It asks you to call a certain number but that number is unknown to you. In this case, call your bank on a number that you trust to check the number and message is authentic.

3. The sender uses an urgent tone, urging you to "act now".

Phishing - ways to spot an email you have been sent is fraudulent:

1. The sender's address does not match the website address of the organisation it says it is from. Roll your mouse pointer over the sender's name to reveal its true address.

2. The email does not use your proper name - using something like "Dear customer" instead.

3. As with smishing, there could be a sense of urgency, asking you to act immediately.

4. There is a prominent website link which may seem like the proper address, but with one character different.

5. There is a request for personal information.

6. There are spelling and grammatical errors.

7. The entire text of the email is within an image rather than the usual text format and the image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus website.