How to spot a scam

Scams are when criminals use lies and deceit to fool you into parting with your cash. You usually get nothing in return and lose your money. Scams are getting more sophisticated and difficult to spot so it's important to know what to look for.

Spotting a scam

There are some signs that should set alarm bells ringing whenever you see them. Always be wary of the following situations:

  • something which sounds too good to be true normally is
  • if you are contacted unexpectedly by a company
  • if you have been asked for personal or bank information
  • if you aren't given long to make a decision or you feel pressured into making one immediately
  • if you're asked to pay anything up-front and the only contact details are a mobile number and a PO box address
  • If you’re called repeatedly and kept on the phone a long time
  • if you’re asked to keep quiet

Be aware that banks, building societies, utility companies, lottery organisers, law enforcement or statutory bodies will never:

  • ask for payment in vouchers
  • ask you to transfer money over the phone to a different account
  • ask for any part of your pin code
  • ask for remote access to your computer or mobile device
  • ask for money for a ‘free gift’, ‘admin fee’ or as part of a promotion
  • threaten to arrest you over the phone, in a letter or email for not paying a fee
  • ask you to go to the bank or building society to transfer money

If in doubt, apply the 'scam' test:

S - seems too good to be true

C - contacted out of the blue

A - asked for personal details

M - money is requested

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