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Five top tips for avoiding scams

We reveal ways to protect yourself from scams


Our panel of 25 Which? members received 477 scams in a month

We asked 25 Which? members to collect all the scams they received over a month – and the total number they received came to a staggering 447.

So what can you do to avoid falling victim? Read on for our tips on how to protect yourselves and others.

Five tips for avoiding the scammers

1. Invest in a cordless phone that blocks calls, or a standalone call blocker. These can block certain types of numbers or ask unknown callers to identify themselves first. We asked experts to deliver their verdict on a range of products like this including the Truecall Care (£120). Find out what our experts thought in our assistive technology guide.

2. If you have vulnerable friends or family, look at the volume of mail they receive and what it contains. Lots of unopened post and parcels from catalogues can be a sign that they are taking part in fake competitions, where a company sends them a mailing saying they’ve won a prize but the small print says otherwise. To find out more, see our postal scams guide.

3. Install security software on your computer – although it won’t stop you getting scammed, it will stop scammers infecting your PC with viruses. Our security software reviews list the latest Best Buys.

4. Received a suspicious email? Check the email address it was sent from and the address of any URLs, as these are often a giveaway that a site or email address is fake. If you’re unsure check out what the authentic website or email address is by searching the internet for it, rather than clicking on links. 

5. Help the lonely or vulnerable person in your life. Scammers often prey on the vulnerable, especially those who are lonely. If you’re worried about an older relative or friend see our guide to tackling loneliness.

How to report a scam

If you receive a scam it’s worth alerting your local trading standards and Action Fraud, which is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud. While they won’t be able to investigate all scams, it helps build the wider picture about scams and may help them warn others.

If you’re received a scam in an email contact, your internet service provider which may be able to close the scammers account.

Finally if you receive a postal scam you can report it to Royal Mail.

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