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Scams

Each year millions of UK consumers fall victim to scams.

Scams are schemes to con you out of money and can be carried out over the phone, in person, by fax or over the internet.

There are hundreds of scams - fake lotteries and prize draws, get-rich-quick schemes, bogus health cures, investment scams, pyramid selling and many more.

The scammers are clever, and all kinds of people from all walks of life get duped. There's a scam for everyone - no matter how alert or clued up you think you are.

Don't let them con you

Don't let the scammers con you. Follow these tips to avoid getting tricked out of your money.

Be sceptical

Beware of extravagant promises. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't be afraid to bin it, delete it or hang up.

Take your time

Scammers don't like to give you time to think. They will try to pressure you into making a decision by telling you that if you don't act now, you'll miss out. Resist any pressure to make a decision right away. Consider asking a friend or family member for advice, or even an accountant or solicitor if big sums of money are involved.

Know who you are dealing with

Be suspicious if you're contacted out of the blue by someone you've never heard of. This is often a clear warning sign that it's a scam. Don't be fooled by official looking websites and marketing materials. Scammers are very good at making their scams look authentic.

Protect your financial information

Never give your bank account details and passwords to someone you don't trust. Trustworthy firms will never contact you to ask for this information.

Cut junk mail and calls

Take some simple steps to cut the number of unsolicited offers you receive in the first place - see nuisance calls for more information.

Think Jessica

Common Scams

Lottery, Prize Draw or Sweep Stake

You receive a letter, phone call, text message or email telling you that you've won a guaranteed prize or a huge sum of money in a lottery... read more

Microsoft Scam

You get a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft or IT support telling you that you may have a virus on your computer; they then offer IT support... read more

Clairvoyants & Psychics

A letter from a so-called clairvoyant or psychic with promises to make predictions that will change your life forever; but first you have to pay a fee... read more

Miracle Health Cures

You see an advert, website or email offering a 'miracle cure' or 'scientific break-through' that will cure a health problem or offer instant weight loss... read more

Phishing

You get an email that looks like it's from your bank with a message asking you to login to your account to either update or confirm your details... read more

Online Dating

You sign up to an online dating service and meet someone who sounds like the perfect match; then the person asks for financial help... read more

Investments

You're offered the chance to put money into things like shares, gemstones or fine wine. The promise is that these will rocket in value... read more

Pyramid Selling

You hear about a great new money-making venture. You go to a presentation where you are told how you can earn lots of money... read more

Advance Fee

A letter or email offering you a huge payment if you can help get money out of a foreign country... read more

Working from Home

You see an advert in a newspaper, on a website or even on a lamp-post offering work from home with the promise of fast cash for minimal effort... read more

Have you been the victim of a scam?

If you’ve been scammed, ripped off or conned, please report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre.

You can report it online or telephone 0300 123 2040.

Further advice

The following organisations are just a few that offer advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of scams, as well as offering information on the latest scamming techniques to watch out for.

Met Office - Little Book of Big Scams (including audio version)

ActionFraud

Citizens Advice Bureau

Serious Fraud Office

Ministry of Justice

 

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, click on the list below to see an alphabetical list

See the results of the ?Which survey and read their advice and guidance at ?Which Scams

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