How to recognise scams and fraud?
It can be difficult to identify whether something is a scam but here are some examples of how you can identify whether it might be and steps you can take to check:
- Too good to be true: if something seems this way it likely is. A huge return for doing very little could be a scam.
- Random competitions: unexpected invites to enter or wins where you have won without entering should arouse suspicion.
- Unexpected messages: from somebody you don’t know, especially if they ask you for personal details should raise concern. Don’t click on a link within the message unless you are sure it is genuine.
- Unrecognised number or email address: you may receive messages appearing to be from somebody you know, but from an unrecognised number or account.
- Banking messages: if someone claims to be from your bank but they have used an unrecognised number or email address, find out if it is genuine before acting. Most mobile networks will automatically identify a sender by replacing the number with their business name. Check with other legitimate communications that the email address or phone number is the same and contact the company directly by visiting your nearest branch or calling the number shown on your bank statement to check if it is genuine.
- Querying purchases: calls or text messages from a retailer where you have made a purchase could be suspicious especially if they ask for your personal details. Ask them to provide a reference number (such as an invoice or purchaser number) to confirm whether they are genuine.
- Personal security details: a genuine company would not ask you to impart personal details that could leave you open to fraud. If you have been asked to provide a complete password or PIN, don’t tell them.
- Quick decisions: scammers will want you to act fast so that you don’t have time to think. If you’ve been asked to make a decision about something involving money quickly, be suspicious. Ask to call them back to give you time.
- Spelling/grammar errors: if any of the communications sent include spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, this can be sign of a scam.