Alexis: Welcome to Scam Academy. I’m Alexis and I’m going to teach you about financial fraud. You believe me, right? After all, it’s human nature to want to believe that someone is who they say they are and that they’ll do what they say they’ll do. Like, if you get a phone call from a bank or from the Police saying they need you to share your financial or security details for something – why wouldn’t you simply assume that they’re genuine?
The reason is because it could be a criminal at the other end of the phone, pretending to be your bank or a police officer, or other trusted organisation. Do you think enough people know that?
What we’re going to ask you to do now, is each of you is going to make a real phone call to a real person and you’re going to try and get their financial details off them.
You’re going to call them up with a story and the story is going be this. You’re going to be calling from a magazine called Top Gadget Magazine.
Rufus: Hello there. Can I speak to Mr Cooper, please?
Carol: My name is Jane and I’m calling from Top Gadget Magazine. We want reviews of real gadgets, by real people, in the real world.
Donna: I wondered if you’d be interested in receiving some gadgets from us, that you could review for our magazine?
Rufus: Does that sound like something you’d be interested in helping us with?
Carol: Now, we don’t pay for the review, but we offer some of the gadgets you want to review free to keep.
Rufus: Which of these would you say you’re most interested in? Would it be flat screen TVs, game consoles, sat navs, tablets, or smartphones?
Carol: We’ll probably send you maybe three or four products out to start with, if that’s ok?
Rufus: We can send say five phones and at the end of that you can select the one you like best to keep.
Donna: Oh, that’s great. OK, well let me just take some details from you.
Carol: First of all, if you could give me your postcode.
Rufus: Do you mind holding on for one moment? Thanks ever so much.
Donna: You are just outside of our free delivery zone on this.
Rufus: All I’m thinking is, if you pay the £12 delivery charge, then we can refund you when we get the gadgets that you send back.
Donna: Would you still be interested in receiving one of the items? Yeah, you’re willing to go ahead?
Carol: Do you have a card with you by any chance?
Donna: We take debit card, credit card. Whatever works for you really.
Carol: So the long number on the front.
Donna: Thanks so much for your time, appreciate that. Bye now (pause). (Under breath) Horrible. I’m a horrible person!
Rufus: The fact that you have to engage with this technology in order to be a functional human being in 2017 means that you’re compelled to take that extra time ‘cos it is, by this point, almost impossible to tell the difference between a really good scam and a completely genuine phone call, a completely genuine text, a completely genuine email that turns out to be not completely genuine.
Alexis: So what exactly are we teaching you here? That making the right call means taking a moment to identify the wrong one. If you’re unsure, never hesitate to contact the organisation in question, your bank or credit card provider on a number that you trust, such as the one listed on their website or on the back of your payment card.