Information about common scams and how to avoid getting scammed.

Introduction

Scams generally tend to be one of three types:

  • The email, phone and postal communication scams
  • The doorstep scams, and
  • online scams such as fake websites.

Email, mail, phone call scams

Every year around three million people fall victim to mass marketed scams such as bogus lotteries, deceptive prize draws and sweepstakes, fake psychics, get-rich-quick schemes and miracle health cures. Many of these scams are sent through the post, as well as by email or over the phone and target the elderly and vulnerable. You can restrict unsolicited marketing phone calls by registering with the telephone preference service on 02072 913320 or registering online at www.mpsonline.org.uk

Research by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) suggests that less than 5% of victims report the scam to the authorities. If you have been the victim of a scam or need further advice, please call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

Visit the Think Jessica website at www.thinkjessica.com to read one victim's true story.

Doorstep scams

Many doorstep scams are reported to us every year. Look out for such callers in your area. If you have been the victim of any of these scams, or know of someone who has, or if you have specific information about bogus tradesmen or tarmaccers etc., you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 to report the matter to us or to simply ask for advice.

Alternatively you can go online at www.adviceguide.org.uk

Go to our Cold Calling/Doorstep Crime Section for further details.

Online scams e.g. fake websites

An increasing number of fake websites have sprung up on the internet recently. It is easy to be taken in by the professional appearance of such sites, particularly when you want to buy tickets for a particular concert or event.

Remember, if something sounds too good to be true - it probably is!

Action Fraud - Report Fraud & Internet Crime

Action Fraud is the UK's new national fraud reporting centre run by the National Fraud Authority – the government agency that helps to co-ordinate the fight against fraud in the UK. It provides a central point of contact for information about scams, etc. Many fraud cases are dealt with internationally because most are based outside the UK, and this is where Action Fraud and its network of partners will work together.