Scam Awareness Month takes place during June each year, but scams are something we should all be aware of every single day. Scammers use speed, surprise and secrecy to catch people out. They create a sense of urgency, putting pressure on people and making them feel they have little choice but to respond to the scam.
Every 15 seconds, someone in the UK gets scammed. Follow these top tips to be scam aware:
Check scam warning signs
Be careful if something:
- comes out of the blue or from someone you don’t know.
- sounds out of the ordinary – like you’ve won the lottery, or you’ve been invited to invest in an ‘amazing’ scheme and keep it a secret.
- asks you to pay for something in advance – especially by bank transfer.
- asks you for personal information – like your bank details, computer passwords or PIN numbers.
- pressures you into buying something or making a decision quickly – a trustworthy company will be happy to wait.
- asks you to phone an expensive number – these start with 070, 084, 087, 090, 091 or 098.
Spotting a fake email or website
Scam emails ask you for personal information like passwords or bank details to get money. This is called ‘phishing’. They often look like they’re from a real company – like a bank or building society. Remember that your bank will never ask you to confirm personal details by clicking on an email link.
If you’re not sure if it’s a scam, check:
- the email or website address – if it’s a scam, it might have a strange address or come from a free email provider like Gmail.
- for spelling mistakes – trustworthy websites are less likely to have them.
- if the website starts with https:// – this means the information you send on the website is secure, but the website could still be a scam.
- if the website has a green padlock in the website address bar – this means the information you send on the site is private.
If you, or someone you know has been a victim of a scam, contact Sussex Police on 101. To report fraud or attempted fraud, visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.
Find more information on the Citizens Advice website.