Information for consumers
How to spot a scam
All these are signs that it might be a scam:
- The call, letter, e-mail or text has come out of the blue
- You’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about
- You didn’t buy a ticket – so I can’t win it!
- They are asking you to send money in advance
- They are saying you have to respond quickly, so you don’t get time to think about it or ask family and friends before you decide
- They are telling you to keep it a secret
- They seem to be offering you something for nothing
If it seems too good to be true – it probably is!
How to protect yourself better
These are some things you can do:
- Never give out contact details like your name, phone number or address to strangers or to people who should have this information already
- Never give financial information or details of your identity, bank accounts or credit card to strangers or to the businesses that should already hold your details
- Shred anything with your personal or bank details on – don’t just throw it away
- If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up
- Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No Thank You”
- Take your time – resist pressure to make a decision straight away
- Never send money to someone you don’t know
- Walk away from job adverts that ask for money in advance
- Ask friends, neighbours or family about whether an offer is likely to be a scam
Find out more
- Get online consumer advice and information at: www.adviceguide.org.uk
- Phone the Citizens Advice Consumer service 08454 04 05 06 for advice
(For advice in Welsh phone 08454 04 05 05)
(typetalk: 18001 08454 04 05 06)
- Check the Action Fraud alerts to common scams/ frauds www.actionfraud.police.uk/news (or ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau to check for you)
Fight back – take action to stop scams!
Three things you can do to help tackle scams:
Report it to Action Fraud
If you have been targeted by a scam, or know someone who has then call Action Fraud. 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk (If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam your first step should to contact your bank or credit card company.)
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime.
Tell Trading Standards
If you think something may be a scam, phone 08454 04 05 06 and tell the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, who can pass details of the case on to Trading Standards.
For advice in Welsh call 08454 04 05 05 typetalk: 18001 08454 04 05 06
The Trading Standards service is responsible for protecting consumers and the community against rogue traders and traders acting unfairly.
Warn family, friends and neighbours. If you get a suspicious circular or are contacted by someone you think may be a scammer, make sure you tip off others.
Download our checklist
You can download or print off our handy checklist with advice on dealing with scams. Keep it handy and use it you think someone may be trying to scam you.
Other resources and links