This article covers five of the most common fraud types. Click on the links for more detailed information about romance scams and email scams
This kind of fraud can involve: buying faulty goods, or goods which do not exist; whether from copycat websites, fake sellers on legitimate sites, or fraudulent companies.
If you are ever buying something online, always check for https:// and a padlock within the address bar. (This means that all the information entered on the web page is secured between yourself and the website)
If you are ever in doubt about a company, use search engines and social media to find out as much information about them before deciding to do business with them.
- Making payments for a holiday on unsecured web pages.
- Paying for tickets which are fraudulent, or never arrive.
- Fake websites and email offers for holidays that do not exist.
- Paying a deposit, which you never see again.
- Competition scams defrauding you out of a fee to 'secure a holiday'.
It is always recommended to use travel operators who are ATOL and/or ABTA protected. Check on the ATOL and ABTA sites to verify that the company genuinely is – and hasn’t just made up a number for these.
ALSO be aware of posting photos from your holiday and ‘checking in’ at the airport on social media – you are advertising to potential burglars that your house is empty!
Be wary of any approaches by phone, email, text or in person about cashing in your pension before you reach retirement age.
Be wary of approaches to invest your lump sum ... especially those with returns that seem too good to be true (they probably are).
Always speak to a financial advisor who is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
- Being approached out of the blue about cashing in your pension
- You aren’t given long to make a decision or you feel pressured into making one immediately
- The only contact details they give you (or that are on a website) are a mobile number and a PO box address
- If a firm doesn’t want or allow you to call it back
If you have been cold called and suspect it was a scam...
- Report it to the Financial Conduct Authority using their online investment scams reporting form or by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.
When criminals access your details to open an account in your name; or take over an account which is currently held in your name.
- Check your credit file at least once a year with credit reference agencies
- Check your bank balance regularly
- Always keep your bank & credit card statements in a safe place. Shred any paperwork relating to your cards when you don’t need it any more – don’t just bin it
Watch: How much information is online about you?
If money goes out of your account which you do not expect; chances are you have become a victim of banking fraud.
This can happen by:
- Contactless card skimming. Criminals may have a device, or app on a smartphone, which can read the contactless off your card - allowing them to either swipe £30 off your card; or steal your card details.
- As part of another, typically a phone or email-based, scam. It could be a large sum going in one go; or smaller, less noticeable amounts going slowly over time - but soon add up.
- Get an RFID blocker wallet or card, to place your debit/credit card into, or alongside. This will prevent any device from reading your card while it is away in a wallet or pocket.
- If using mobile banking, it is safer to use an APP on your phone or tablet than it is to use an internet browser. Simply put, banks have more control over their apps, than what is on the entirity of the internet!
If you have lost money to any fraud or scam:
- Contact your bank or financial institution, to limit any further damage. In some cases, the bank may refund you the lost money.
- Report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
Warwickshire Trading Standards
- Trading Standards home page
- Trading Standards' scams page, including details of how to sign up for scam email alerts
- Business page with advice for web developers and links to MET Police scams guides
- Consumer page, some cyber crime advice for consumers
- Trading Standards Facebook
- Trading Standards Twitter