Most people have heard about or experienced common money scams, such as emails from Nigerian royalty. However, fraudsters are inventing increasingly sophisticated ways to con you into handing over personal information or even persuade you to give them the money directly. Here we highlight the most common scam types and offer pointers on what you can do to protect against them.
According to the BBC, more than 84,000 people made bank payments to fraudsters in 2018, showing the prevalence of scams. One common scam type is phishing, where an email appears to be from a legitimate organisation such as HMRC or Amazon, but if you click the link and provide the information requested, you’re actually sending it to a fake site.
The phone call equivalent, vishing, is where scammers say they’re from an official institution and try to get your personal details.
Other types include online payments for goods that don’t exist and investment scams.
How to Spot Scams
Know what to look for. Be wary of unexpected phone calls, and remember that legitimate companies will never ask for personal details. Never let yourself be pressured into a hasty decision. Confirm emails are genuine by looking at the message details to see its source – and never click a link in an email unless you are 100% sure of its provenance.
What Can You Do?
There are several ways to protect yourself from being scammed. Ensure you have robust online security, with strong passwords, up-to-date virus protection and secure Wi-Fi. Don’t engage with cold callers on the phone or in person. Never reveal personal information, and never part with any money until you’re sure the recipient is legitimate – you can check the FCA register or Companies House to see a company’s history. If you have a potential investment opportunity and need an independent financial advisor Chippenham has several who can help. Ask yourself: what does an independent financial advisor cost in comparison to potentially losing thousands?
If you’ve been caught out by a scam, contact your bank to stop any further money leaving your account. Check your credit file regularly in case fraudsters have made credit applications. Watch out for any subsequent scams, especially if someone says they can get your money back. And finally, report it to Action Fraud or the Financial Conduct Authority.