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How to spot a scam

A wolf in a sheep's skin

Spotting a scam is not always easy, fraudsters are continually coming up with ingenious ideas to separate people from their hard earned cash and personal details – they will go to great details to appear trustworthy. However, by learning what you need to look out for, you will be able to avoid the majority of common scams. Below we have compiled some tips on what to look out for to help you recognize potential scams.

Contact out of the blue

Most scams are initiated through contact that you weren’t expecting – whether it be a phone call, email or letter through your door, therefore if you weren’t expecting it, be aware that it may be a scam.


Often scammers will instil a sense of urgency into you so that you feel pressurized into doing something that they want you to do.  You should never think that you have to make a rushed decision, a legitimate company would never rush you.

Bad grammar.

Be vigilant for spelling mistakes and poor grammar. Banks and retailers will proofread any emails before sending them.

Too good to be true

If what the email or person is suggesting sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is. Fraudsters will always promise high returns with low risk.

Don’t believe in offers of free prizes – they are almost always scams. Just think, if you didn’t enter a competition then why would you win a prize?

Furthermore, you should never have to pay to receive a prize or funds that you have won.

Request for personal information

Never hand out your pin number or passwords to anyone on the phone or via email. A legitimate company will never ask you for these. If you are unsure always call the number provided on your bank statement or from a legitimate source. If the person requesting the information called you, use another phone or wait five minutes to ensure that the line is clear.

Don’t click the link

Never click on a link in an email if you don’t know that it’s from a trusted source. It could install a virus onto your device and record all of your personal information.

If you feel that you have been scammed it is important that you report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.