Today marks the start of Scam Awareness month but according to a survey by Which?, 40% of consumers wouldn’t spot a scam if they saw one.
We’ve rounded up the five most common scams that can fool you into parting with your cash and personal details.
1. Computer security scams
When Which? asked one thousand people last year if they had been affected by a scam, 30% of those who’d been scammed reported falling foul of computer security ploys.
One common scam offers bogus antivirus software in exchange for credit card details. Another falsely accuses the victim of illegal downloading, forcing them to pay cash to avoid jail time!
2. Bank account security scams
Almost one in 10 of those who have fallen foul of a scam were victims of bank account security fraud in the form of phishing emails.
These emails pretend to be from your bank. They prompt you to log on and check your account, meaning the fraudsters gain access to your personal details.
3. Lottery, competitions and prize draw scams
The temptation to claim a large cash prize was too much for 5% of people that fell victim to scams. They handed over their personal information and paid fees to fraudsters in exchange for non-existent pay outs.
4. Investment scams
Another 5% of those affected by a scam responded to offers of imaginary shares, dodgy property schemes and ‘land banking’ scams, which involves investing in grossly overpriced land with a promise of generous returns.
5. Tax rebate scams
A final 5% engaged with scammers offering tax rebates under the guise of HMRC, in exchange for personal details.
Protect yourself against scams
Stay vigilant about spotting the warning signs of scams. It’s likely to be a scam if any of the following apply:
- you’re contacted by a company out of the blue
- an offer seems too good to be true
- you feel under pressure to respond very quickly
- you feel pressured into providing personal details
If you suspect a scam, be it online, over the phone or in person, report it to Action Fraud, and the police.
Which? is supporting Citizens Advice Bureau and Trading Standards Institute’s Scam Awareness Month 2013.
The aim of Scam Awareness Month 2013 is to draw attention to new scams that take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.
New research by Citizen’s Advice has found that the financial climate is driving more scams.
According to Citizen’s Advice, fraudsters are exploiting changes to the benefit system, promising to help clear debt for a fee, or even charging for fake training courses that promise jobs.
– If you’ve fallen victim to a fraudster, get your money back after a scam
– Worried about banking scams? Find out how to bank online safely
– Find simple ways to solve everyday problems with our Consumer Rights site