Avoid Scams With These Top Tips

Shutterstock / Yury Zap © avoid scams

We all know how important it is to avoid scams.

New research by Citizens Advice has found that more than two thirds of adults (36 million) has been targeted by a scammer since January.

Of all those targeted:

  • 54% were about fake deliveries or parcels
  • 41% were by someone pretending to be from the government
  • 12% were by someone offering a fake investment or get rich quick scheme

Here, Citizens Advice consumer expert Jerry Houseago gives his top five tips to stay scam aware.

Avoid a scam with these top tips

Jerry warns it might be a scam if:

  • it seems too good to be true – for example, a holiday that’s much cheaper than you’d expect
  • you suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – for example, if there’s no postal address
  • someone pressures to transfer money quickly or in an unusual way – like by iTunes vouchers or a transfer service
  • someone asks you to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
  • you haven’t had written confirmation of what’s been agreed

If you’ve been scammed, Jerry advises you talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment.

You should also report the scam to Citizens Advice.

Offline scams

You can report offline scams — like those via telephone, post and doorstep — via the Citizens Advice website, or by calling 0808 223 1133.

Online scams

Report online scams to the dedicated Scams Action service either online or on 0808 250 5050

Text scams

You can report text scams to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726. You can also report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Scams Awareness

To encourage people to report scams, share their experiences and look out for others, Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“From fraudulent get rich quick schemes to dodgy texts, opportunistic scammers continue to prey on even the savviest of consumers. Our research shows that when it comes to scams anyone can be targeted, and anyone can be tricked.

“It’s more important than ever we all do our bit to report scams when we see them to help protect ourselves and others. By learning how scammers operate, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks.“

The National Trading Standards Scams Team operates free Friends Against Scams awareness training. Take their e-learning course today.

For more from “The People’s Friend” team, visit our Features pages.

Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.