Are you Scam Aware?
You can be scammed in different ways – online, by phone, by post or in person. Scammers try to get your personal details to get money from you or steal your details so they can pretend to be you. NatWest have identified 8 scams to beware of in 2018:
- Social media spying – be careful what you put online
- Malicious software on smartphones
- Bogus Brexit investments
- Fraudsters preying on World Cup excitement
- Money mules – typically students lured into laundering money
- Wedding websites which may be fake
- Romance scams – from criminals who create fake profiles
- Scams aimed at first-time house buyers.
If you think someone might be trying to scam you, don’t:
- let them into your house if they’re at your door
- send them any money or buy anything
- reply to their email or click on any links
- download any attachments or files in emails
- give them any personal information, like passwords or PIN numbers
- ring any numbers in emails or letters you receive.
Check the warning signs. Be careful if something:
- comes out of the blue or from someone you don’t know
- sounds out of the ordinary – like you’ve won the lottery, or you’ve been invited to invest in an ‘amazing’ scheme and keep it a secret
- asks you to pay for something in advance – especially by bank transfer
- asks you for personal information – like your bank details
- pressures you into buying something or making a decision quickly
- asks you to phone an expensive number – these start with 070, 084, 087, 090, 091 or 098
If someone is offering to do building work for you, don’t let them start immediately and ask them for references – this will give you time to check if they’re reliable. You can find out more about hiring a trustworthy builder at our national website citizensadvice.org.uk
Spotting a fake email or website
Scam emails may ask you for personal information like passwords or bank details to get money. This is called ‘phishing’. Remember that your bank will never ask you to confirm personal details by clicking on an email link. Beware of emails or websites with spelling mistakes or which have a strange address. Look for secure websites with addresses starting with https:// and with a green padlock in the website address bar.
Get advice on being safe at getsafeonline.org. They also have advice on protecting your computer from viruses which can sometimes steal your details.
If you think you’re being scammed
- If it’s online don’t click on anything – leave the website. You might want to keep emails as evidence in case you report the scam.
- If you’ve had an email that looks something like it’s from your bank, contact your bank directly using the number on your card. You can also log into your account on their website – use Google to find the real one. You can also block the email sender or mark an email as ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ – this means you won’t see them in your inbox.
- Report scams and suspected scams to Action Fraud at 0300 123 2040 or actionfraud.police.uk If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved, contact the bank or credit card company. Only 5-15% of all scams are reported. Reporting not only helps to inform the work of advice or enforcement agencies, it also helps to prevent future scams.
- Tell family, friends, neighbours so that they can avoid scams.
Get advice on scams
You can check recent scams at actionfraud.police.uk and common financial scams on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website fca.org.uk. The FCA website is also the place to check if a company is registered before you make any investment.
If you were pressured into buying something, you might be able to get a refund. For this and more general advice on scams, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm.