The government introduced a ban on cold calling about pensions in January, but every month fraudsters think of new ways to trick people out of their money. Almost three quarters of us have been targeted by scammers in the last year. Here are some of the most common scams criminals are trying:
Pension cold calling
If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your current or future pension, the caller is now breaking the law. Report them by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at reporting.actionfraud.police.uk
If you receive an unexpected phone call saying your computer or broadband has a problem – it’s a scam. Hang up!
Phone, text and email scams
Criminals sometimes pretend they are from banks, the police and other organisations we trust. An email supposedly from Amazon, Apple, Paypal or another company saying you have placed a mysterious order or saying your membership is being cancelled is almost certainly a scam. A text message from HMRC saying they owe you money will be another – you can report text scams by forwarding the message to 7726.
Phone calls supposedly from banks or the police asking for personal information such as your PIN number, asking you to transfer money to another account or wanting to collect your card are particularly serious. Banks and the police will never phone and ask for your PIN, card or cash. The scammers may suggest a number you can call to check but then hang onto the line to intercept your call. Use another phone and call instead the number on your card – or 101 if the callers say they are police.
Scams involving viruses, malware and fake websites
There are many fake websites, some pretending to sell event tickets or offering to apply for government documents on your behalf. Check you’re using an official ticket seller or the real government website gov.uk If you get a TV licencing email taking you to a website offering refunds – that’s a fake too.
An unexpected call or online ad telling you about an investment you can make in shares, wine, bitcoin or something else which will return a profit that sounds too good to be true, probably is just that – too good to be true. You can check if they’re a registered company at register.fca.org.uk
Doorstep scammers aren’t always pushy and persuasive, they may seem polite or friendly. So if you’re not expecting someone it’s important to be vigilant when you answer the door, especially if you live on your own. Watch out for:
Some things you can do
Don’t be rushed (legitimate callers will be patient), get a door chain if you don’t have one and sign up to the Telephone Preference Service tpsonline.org.uk Keep your software and virus checker up-to-date, choose “strong” passwords and avoid clicking on links in emails or texts from unfamiliar sources. You can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 for more advice or search for “scams” at citizensadvice.org.uk