Scams are schemes to deceive you out of your money, they can arrive by post, phone call, text message or email, or from someone coming to your home. Fake lotteries, bogus psychic predictions, get-rich-quick investments and 'miracle' health cures are just some of the tricks that scammers try.
If you wish to report a scam please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service:
Think that you've been scammed?
If you think that you have been part of a scam or that someone has tried to scam you:-
- Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service:
Phone: 03454 04 05 05
They can send the details to Trading Standards.
- Contact Action Fraud
Phone: 0300 123 2040
Warn someone – educate a friend, neighbour or relative about the dangers of scams.
Citizens Advice and Trading Standards distribute information leaflets and hold events to try an protect you from being scammed.
Information to help you avoid scams
How can I spot a scam?
It is likely to be a scam if:
- The call, letter, email 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 telling you 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!
- 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 already hold your details.
- Shred anything with your personal or bank details on - don't just throw it away.
What should I do if they contact me?
By Post ...
- Look at the outside of every piece of mail and decide if it's likely to be a scam. The envelope usually says something like 'winning documentation, confirmed cheque, guaranteed delivery of a cheque for £xxx,' Throw them away without opening them.
- Often these scam mailings come from abroad e.g Hong Kong, The Netherlands, Las Vegas or Australia. Unless you have family or friends in those places throw these ones away without opening them too.
- Do not reply to spam / unsolicited mail, once you respond to one, the amount of unsolicited mail will increase.
- Destroy and throw away mailings (but shred your details first).
Over the phone...
- Do not give any bank or personal details over the phone
- Do not get dragged into a conversation with a cold caller
- Say 'no thank you' politely and put the phone down
- Ask friends, neighbours or family if you are interested in an offer, to help check out if it is likely to be a scam.
Through e-mail and text messages...
- Don't click on any link from an unknown contact or if it's from someone you know but there is no message, only a link.
- Be aware of online scams purporting to be from official agencies e.g Government, HMRC etc. Official agencies do not email requesting banking details.
Cut down on unwanted phone calls, texts and e-mails
- Register with the Telephone Preference Service for FREE to cut down on unwanted phone calls, texts and SMS messages
Phone: 0345 070 0707
- Forward spam texts to your mobile provider – The big networks have a simple, FREE method to help you do this. Just forward the message to 7726 (spells SPAM), making sure it includes the senders' number
- Delete and block scam e-mails
- The Trading Standards Unit have a limited number of call blockers which may be made available to the elderly or vulnerable for a short period of time.
Internet fraud and e-crime
In order for you to protect yourself from being scammed on-line it is important that you are aware of the latest scams. Visit the websties below for current information.
How to stop scams?
If you have been scammed, or think someone has tried to scam you,
- Phone the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 (English line).
- Phone Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website.
- Warn someone – educate a friend, neighbour or relative about the dangers of scams.