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Common scams to be aware of

Common scams to be aware of

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Unfortunately, there are some people in the world who have no qualms about scamming others out of their hard earned cash. As the general public become more and more aware of scams, criminals have to come up with more plausible looking ways to get money out of people.

Figures from Consumer Direct suggest that three million adults fall victim to scams every year in the UK, losing an average of £850 each. Although that figure may seem eye-wateringly high, it does not include the number of people who fall victim but don’t report the crime.

The best defence against falling for a scam is to be aware and on the lookout for them so here are some of the most common ones doing the rounds at the moment.


One of the most prevalent internet scams is known as ‘phishing’. You’ll receive an email claiming to be from your bank, for example, and will be asked to click on a link to log in and deal with a problem of check some details. The email and the website linked to will both appear genuine but entering your details will provide fraudsters with access to your account. If you’re unsure of whether an email is genuine then you should call or visit your bank to check before clicking on any links. Don’t use email addresses or telephone numbers on the email in question as these will only put you through to the scammers. Instead, use a search engine or the information on a bank statement to get in touch with your branch.

419 scam

Common scams to be aware ofAlso known as the Nigerian letter scam, this one involves someone asking you to help them get large sums of money out of their own country and into the UK. The story may seem plausible, due to a coup, war or natural disaster. In return for helping them you’ll receive a chunk of the money – usually a decent amount. However, rather than placing money into your account when you offer your bank details, the scammers will empty it. Alternatively, you may be asked to contribute towards fees associated with transferring such a large amount of cash. Either way, there’s no chance that you’ll ever see a penny of the promised cash. The first wave of these scams emails came from Nigeria and the 419 name refers to the section of Nigerian law that outlaws it.

Computer scam

You may receive a phone call from someone pretending to be from a reputable computer or software company. That person will tell you that there is something wrong with your computer, such as a virus, and that they can talk you through a solution to fixing it. You’ll be directed to a website where you can download software, which then gives them remote access to your PC. The software you’ve downloaded will then search your computer for user names, passwords and security details, providing criminals with the details they need to access everything from your Facebook page to your bank account.

070 missed calls

This scam involves tricking people into calling expensive personal and premium rate phone numbers beginning with 070, often through a missed call alert or an advertisement selling something. These can be easy to fall for, as at first glance they appear to be a mobile phone number. However, 070 and 076 numbers can cost up to £1.50 a minute to call and scammers usually keep victims on hold for as long as possible.

As a rule of the thumb, if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. Follow that saying and you should manage to steer clear of scams but if you do fall prey to scammers then you should report it to police.









About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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