The most common scams are the mass-marketed letters, emails, telephone calls and texts that thousands of people receive every day. They may look innocent, but they hide a network of criminal organisations that are out to get one thing – money.
Letters and calls promise the receiver free holidays, wonderful prizes and many other temptations. Once the receiver – or victim – has replied, the sender is hooked. More communications will follow, asking for more monies, but for no prizes or rewards.
- Ensure your computer is protected by personal firewall and anti-virus software and keep them regularly updated.
- Report any abuse to your internet service provider (ISP).
- Never reply to any email you are unsure of.
- Visit Bank Safe Online to report all suspicious banking emails.
- Report suspicious PayPal emails to email@example.com.
- Report suspicious ebay scams or emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Never accept offers over the phone “if they sound too good to be true, they usually are”.
- Never give personal details over the phone.
- Report any suspicious phonecalls to your phone company.
- Consider registering your number with Telephone Preference Service (TPS Online) or 0845 070 0707.
- Most telephone providers will block anonymous callers.
- Never give your credit or bank card PIN number out over the phone. This information is never requested legitimately by your bank or the police.
- If you think something is wrong, hang up the phone.
- Many postal scams look genuine and are designed to trick you. Never respond by sending money or personal details to unsolicited mail.
- If you respond to one postal scam you may be bombarded by others as your name may be circulated to other scammers.
- If you are unsure about a piece of mail, ask a friend for their opinion or contact Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506.
- Beware of unwanted mail from outside this country or from a postbox (PO Box) address in this country.
- Consider registering with Mail Preference Service either online or by calling 0845 703 4599.