May 2014 is scams awareness month. It’s a great opportunity for our community to work together to spot the signs of scams and prevent anyone from falling victim to them. A scam is any scheme purposely set up to cheat you out of your money. They can arrive by post, phone call, text message or e-mail or from someone uninvited on your doorstep.
How to spot a scam
All these are signs that it might be a scam:
- The call, letter, e-mail or text has come out of the blue.
- You’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about.
- You didn’t buy a ticket – so you can’t win it!
- They are asking you to send money in advance.
- They are saying you have to respond quickly, so you don’t get time to think about it, or ask family and friends before you decide.
- They are telling you to keep it a secret.
- They seem to be offering you something for nothing.
If it seems too good to be true – it probably is!
How to protect yourself better
These are some things you can do:
- Never give out contact details like your name, phone number or address to strangers or to people who should have this information already.
- Never give financial information or details of your identity, bank accounts or credit card to strangers or to the businesses that should already hold your details.
- Shred anything with your personal or bank details on – don’t just throw it away.
- If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up.
- Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No Thank You”.
- If you’re not sure, don’t open the door.
- Take your time – resist pressure to make a decision straight away.
- Never send money to someone you don’t know.
- Walk away from job adverts that ask for money in advance.
- Ask friends, neighbours or family about whether an offer is likely to be a scam.
Find out more
Fight back – take action to stop scams!
Three things you can do to help tackle scams:
Tell Trading Standards
If you think something may be a scam, contact Trading Standards by phoning the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.
The Trading Standards service is responsible for protecting consumers and our community against rogue traders and traders acting unfairly.
Report it to Action Fraud
If you have been targeted by a scam, or know someone who has then call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk (If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam your first step should to contact your bank or credit card company.)
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime.
Warn family, friends and neighbours. If you get a suspicious circular or are contacted by someone you think may be a scammer, make sure you tip off others.
Download the checklist
You can download or print off a handy checklist with advice on dealing with scams. Keep it handy and use it you think someone may be trying to scam you.