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Keep ahead of the scammers by doing everything you can to protect yourself. Read the following top tips to spot and avoid scams.
Fraud can occur in lots of different ways, but the act itself always involves trickery to steal an item of value, such as money, expensive objects, bank details and credit card numbers.
Some fraud attempts are obvious, others are very clever. Reporting fraud to the police can reduce your losses and stop them doing it to someone else (if the criminals are caught and prosecuted).
...the most important point to remember is that if you suspect you have been targeted, report the scam immediately.
There are many ways in which scammers attempt fraud. From ‘phishing emails’ – for example bogus messages letting you know about a recent inheritance win – to phone scams in which callers pretend to be from a trusted organisation, then ask to reconfirm your private details. Or holiday scammers ‘selling’ unwary people flights and advance fee scams, there is an ever-growing market for criminals to ply their wares.
It’s a good idea to evaluate just how fraud-proof you are right now. Our Fraud Fighter tool can help you assess your existing security and suggest any upgrades you might need to make.
Here are some simple tips to stay protected.
Don’t trust strangers: Fraudsters often pretend to be someone from a trustworthy profession, such as a policeman, a charity fundraiser or an employee at your bank. In the real world, these people will never ask you for sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers, so if they do, be suspicious.
Keep your tech up-to-date: Computers are a popular target for fraudsters. Scammers can create websites containing malicious code and emails with viruses attached in an attempt to steal important details. Downloading the latest anti-virus software and using an up-to-date operating system will prevent most of these attacks.
Do your research: If a deal catches your eye when you’re shopping online, be sure the vendor is reputable. If in doubt, do an online search for the company. Typing its name and the word ‘scam’ should bring up all the information you need; if people are complaining, buy elsewhere.
Paying in advance: Fraudsters usually want your money quickly then make a swift exit. One way they do this is to ask people for money up-front, sometimes in exchange for nothing but promises. If someone sounds eager for payment, consider whether they are for real.
Passwords and pin numbers: It’s good practice to use different passwords each time you create an account online. Using a single password means that if a fraudster cracks one account, they can gain access to the lot. Commit pin numbers to memory and don’t write them down.
Find out more about staying safe online.