Scams are dishonest schemes that try to trick you into giving away money or personal information. Scammers often target vulnerable people and businesses.
Scams also include misleading claims about various goods and services.
Citizens Advice has information on how to recognise a scam.
Beware of cold calls pretending to be from a trusted organisation – for example:
- the police
- utility companies
- computer companies
They may try to get personal or financial information - they encourage victims to hand over card details, or trick them into revealing PIN numbers or transfer money into accounts they control.
To make their call appear genuine, they often use number spoofing - they alter the phone number to look like a number victims may recognise and trust. Then they ask the victim to check their handset display in an attempt to convince them it’s a real call.
If you're not expecting a call, it’s best to hang up and find the real phone number from a bill or letter.
Phishing emails and text message scams
‘Phishing’ is when criminals try to convince people to click on links in a scam email or text message. These scams tend to include a link to a fake but convincing website designed to trick victims into entering personal information.
Criminals also use the number spoofing technique in this scam, which can make a message appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages from that organisation.
It's often elderly or vulnerable people who are targeted by criminals that visit homes. Scammers take their unsuspecting victim's money and may attempt to get personal information to pass on to other fraudsters.
Report a scam
If you or someone you know have been targeted by a scam and you would like to report it or want advice, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service or call it's consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.
If you know the scam has come from abroad also known as distance selling, you can report it to econsumer.gov
Action Fraud provide advice on staying safe online. You can also contact them to report an email or internet scam.
You can report online scams and phishing (including text messages) on GOV.UK.
Think Jessica is charity that raises awareness against scams to protect people against fraud.
Reduce unwanted calls and mail
Mail Preference Service can help to reduce unsolicited mail, you can also call on 0207 291 3310.
Telephone Preference Service can reduce unwanted calls, you can call on 0345 070 0707.
Friends against scams
You can also become a Friend Against Scams and learn how to recognise scams and protect yourself and those you know from becoming a scam victim.