Top ten tips to avoid being scammed
Scams target people of all ages, backgrounds and income levels without discriminating. Falling victim to scamming can have a devastating effect on both the individuals concerned and their families
One of the best ways to help fight the scammers is for you and members of your family to take steps, so you are not caught out in the first place.
Here are ten tips on how to help protect yourself and others:
- Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so be suspicious. In the real world, there are no guaranteed get rich schemes, so make sure you don’t fall for one.
- If you are offered a deal, whether by phone or face to face or even online, never make decisions immediately. Make sure you take time to consider the offer and you should also consult an independent party and take legal/ financial advice before moving forward. Do not get distracted by ‘any time limited’ offers or special ‘sign up now’ deals and take your time.
- Check the credentials of any company and individual before you hand over any money or sign anything. This is best carried out online, as then you will be able to check out multiple sources and even find out via blogs if anyone has been scammed by these organisations before. Beware of glowing testimonials, as they may be false. If you don’t have internet access or are not familiar with these types of searches, ask somebody to do it for you.
- Your bank details and your personal details are very valuable, so you need to do all you can to protect them. Never give any personal details to someone you don’t know, or don’t trust, whatever they say and how ever they approach you, i.e. by phone, on your doorstep or online.
- You may be asked to send money abroad to someone; these kinds of requests are often received online by e-mail. Whatever the circumstances, never send money abroad, even if it is an e-mail from someone you know, as it can still be scam.
- When using the internet, always go directly to the website you want and not through a link from another site, as this might provide access to your details. The best way is to search directly for the website you require.
- Protecting your home address is very important, if you are receiving mail for someone else at your address, open it and find out why it has been sent. Shred or tear up any documents which have your address and personal details on them before they go into the bin or recycling, especially banking and finance information.
- Protect your phone by never replying to unsolicited texts, e.g. those asking about accident or PPI. Just delete them.
- Register your phones and mail address to stop unsolicited calls and mail via the Telephone Preference Service and the Mail Protection Service
- Keep your computer’s anti-virus and security programs up-to-date and make sure you are using secure pages on sites which begin with ‘https’ in the address bar, rather than just http.
Do not be embarrassed about being scammed or reporting it. Scammers are very cunning and clever and there is no shame in being deceived, as it has happened to many people. By reporting the scam, you will make it more difficult for them to deceive others in the future .
To report a scam
Contact Action Fraud 03001232040 or visit their website Action Fraud, or call the police if you think or know that the suspect is still in the local area.