Spotting and avoiding scams

Scammers will try anything to get their hands on your money. Here we look through how to spot telephone or email scams early and bin their attempts.

Action fraud is the UK national reporting centre for fraud.

Which? magazine guide to scams

Posted: 200619
Spotting and avoiding scams
> Have you been called out of the blue?
If in doubt check but remember a phone line can remain open after you have hung up if the scammer stays online and plays a false dialling code.
> Does the email come from a company you know as an existing customer and does it address you by name? Fake emails can start with "Dear customer" or "Dear friend"!
> Are you being asked to share your personal details or enter a password or a date of birth? Scammers can get hold of personal information which might easily reassure you - just ring off and after 15 minutes call the number you have for them.
> Are you being invited or pressured to respond promptly? If the caller starts going through "security checks" always respond "just a moment, I need to check you first - who are you and what are the contacts for your organisation so I can check you out?"
> Check the email address of the sender and the message - does it have spelling or grammatical mistakes? Frequently scammers' messages reveal mistakes.
> Are there contact details for the organisation contacting you? Scammers often show PO Box numbers or mobile phones as their contacts.
> Is the scammer offering a "special offer" just for you? Some scammers promoting financial products don't want you discussing their "special offers" with family of professional advisors who may spot they are scammers.
> Does the scammer ask for a payment via a bank transfer? Be particularly careful if the scammer pretends to be a company you have done business with as the scammer may have obtained information of those dealings and is keen to exploit them by getting your bank details..