01 Aug, 2022 CareYourWay Team 8 min read (1011 words)

How to Protect Yourself From Fraud & Scams

Top tips to help you stay safe in a digital world

Introduction

Frauds and scams are a crime, a crime which involves someone lying to you in order to gain advantage over your money or your personal information. The scams can be performed by email, text, phone calls, post, social media and in person.

Scammers and fraudsters are intelligent yet callous people who will do anything to get their hands on your personal information. Which is why you need to be extremely vigilant about who you give your personal details to!

We take a look at the different scams, how you can easily identify a scam and protect yourself from becoming vulnerable.

Scams by Phone

Often unsolicited phone calls, this can be either an automated robotic message or from a person claiming to be from a company you trust like your bank or phone provider, or regarding an accident you’ve had. Do be aware that these calls can sometimes be cold callers looking for business, however they are generally scams. 

How to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Never give any personal information out to incoming callers. Even if it is a company you know and trust, hang up and call the company directly. Do not call back the number they called from, look up the number online, .
  • If you feel harassed or intimidated hang up the call immediately  
  • Do not allow yourself to be rushed. Some scammers will act as if it is urgent so that you act straight away
  • Never share any personal details, such as your date of birth, a pet’s name, or any time your home will be empty

Postal Scams

Yes, unfortunately scams can also manage to slither their way through your letterbox. They come in the form of letters congratulating you on a win of a competition you haven’t entered, they often ask you to call a premium rate number or to pay fees to 'release' your prize. A real prize draw organisation would never ask for a fee for you to claim your winnings.

How to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Put a ‘no junk mail’ sign on your door
  • If you receive something you think may be a scam, don’t respond, and throw it away

Email & Text scams

These include text messages claiming to be from courier services such as Royal Mail, DPD and Hermes, advising you missed your parcel and to click a link so it can be delivered. They can also be from HMRC concerning a rebate, HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by text message.

Some emails, may also have a link or file attached for you to click on. Opening these links or downloading the files may harm your device. Scam emails can also appear to be from friends and family, if you ever receive an email from someone you know asking for money, contact that person by another means such as calling them.

How to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Forward the text message to 7726 - it’s free. This will report the message to your mobile phone provider. To see a how to guide, click here 
  • Never open any links in emails or texts, always log onto a website directly
  • Never provide your bank details to companies via text message or email
  • Never open any attachments in emails or text messages from untrusted senders, you should only ever open an attachment if you know it’s contents
  • Ignore any cold texts
  • Remember if something seems too good to be true, that’s because it is!

Door Step Scammers

These scams take place right on your own doorstep. It involves someone coming to your door and trying to offer fake services which require payment upfront such as a subscription service or they could try and gain access into your home. Door step scammers are not always harassing, they can seem pleasant, which is why you need to remain vigilant when answering the door.

How to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Install a smart door bell
  • Put a sign on your door that reads “no cold callers”
  • Never hand over any money or sign any subscriptions until you’ve checked their credentials
  • Only let people into your house who you are expecting or if they are a trusted friend, family member or professional
  • Do not feel embarrassed closing the door on someone if you begin to feel harassed or unsure.
  • If they claim to be from your service provider ask their name and go inside and call the company from an internet search or phone book, not the number they give you and check they are who they say, do not worry about leaving them outside on the doorstep, if they are legitimate, they will be understanding
  • If they are offering a service and you are interested, get a written quote and also request two other quotes from other businesses

What to do if you think you may have been subject to fraud

Firstly, do not be embarrassed about reporting fraud, these scammers are extremely good at deceiving people. Reporting the crime will make it harder for them to continue!

  1. Talk to someone you trust
  2. If you have replied to a scam stop all communication immediately
  3. Contact your bank and ask to speak to the fraud team, they will be able to help
  4. Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

This article was last updated on August 3rd 2022 by CareYourWay Team

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