How to spot scams and protect yourself

Last updated: Feb 10th, 2014
Feature by Matthew Wall

1. Familiar scams

The age-old adage 'If it looks too good to be true, it probably is' still holds true today. New technology provides new opportunities for fraudsters, but the scams themselves are often depressingly similar.

2. Money upfront

Always be wary of any scheme that asks for money upfront. This is most likely a form of 'advance-fee' fraud.

3. Pressure

Alarm bells should ring if you're pressurised into making a decision quickly. Giving the impression that consumers have to move fast to secure that 'special offer' or 'investment opportunity' is a classic scam tactic. 

4. Poor english

Look out for bad grammar and spelling in unsolicited emails as this is often an indication that they have originated from abroad rather than your local bank.

If you think you've been scammed get in touch by leaving a comment below or emailing us on scamwatch@moneywise.co.uk and let us know exactly what has happened.

5. Check statements

Check bills and bank statements regularly for rogue entries - essential if you want to spot fraud early.

6. Antivirus

Install the latest antivirus and firewall software on your computer. Make sure the 'automatic updates' setting is on.

7. Protect to the max

ID fraud is on the rise, so set your privacy settings on social networking sites to maximum.

8. Review contacts

Carry out periodic reviews of your 'friends' and 'contacts' on all your electronic address books, and consider deleting those you don't know personally.

9. Use PINS

Protect your smartphone and enclosed datacard with a PIN in case your phone falls into the wrong hands.

10. If in doubt, report it

Report any suspicious activity to actionfraud.org.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

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Your Comments

Hello,  Can you help me ?  I sent for a sample of Raspberry Ketone from Pioneer Labs for my daughter with a charge of £2.95 P&P.  When I received my Credit Card statement a montlh later I was horrified to see they had taken a further £95 for which I did not receive anything. I rang my bank Halifax and they put a stop on any further payments.  I also rang 020 3014 4006 which was on the statement and the woman had an American accent. She said she could not make a refund but after arguing with her over 10 minutes she finally said she would make a partial refund of £40 which she did. I said if you can make a partial refund you can refund the lot but got nowhere.  Then I later rang Halifax again as being on a Credit Card I was hoping they would refund the £55 but was told they had checked on the internet and because it said after 14 days etc I was to inform them they could not help.  I checked carefully on the internet and could not see anywhere where they said after 14 days to contact them.  So I`ve lost £55.  Regards Eileen Redfern.