Look out for scams #TalkMoney
No one thinks they’ll be caught out by a scam, but it happens more than you would think. The tactics used by scammers and fraudsters can vary from someone knocking on your door to an unexpected email, text or phone call.
How to recognise a scam
Knowing what to look out for when it comes to scams is one of the best ways to protect yourself.
Unsolicited or unexpected contact
If you’ve received any kind of contact, but particularly a phone call, out of the blue, it is best to avoid it. Never give out bank details over the phone to someone you do not know and trust.
If you get an email, expand the pane at the top of the message and see exactly who it has come from. It could say it’s from TV Licensing but if you click or hover over the name it might reveal something different.
If it’s a scam, the email address the message has come from might not match up with the sender’s name, have misspellings, random numbers or be from one of your contacts that has been hacked.
Modern scammers can make their numbers look like one you trust, like your bank. The scam text message might even appear in the same conversation as legitimate texts you’ve had before. This is known as ‘number spoofing’.
Just in case, avoid clicking links in text messages, and don’t be afraid to contact the company directly to check that it’s a real message.
Too good to be true
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This is something you normally find with pension or investment scams, where the fraudster guarantees you huge returns, but tells you it is low risk.
Asking for personal details
Personal details, full PIN codes and passwords. These are things no legitimate company will ask you for.
If you are pushed into making a decision on the spot, be suspicious. Scammers don’t want you to have time to think about it. Any legitimate company who calls you won’t mind if you hang up and call them back later. Use the phone number you find on letters from the company or the back of your card.
Random competitions, particularly if you don’t remember entering them, should ring alarm bells.
What should you do if you’ve been scammed?
If you think you’ve been scammed there are four things you need to do.
- Stop sending money straight away. If the payment has been set up as a Direct Debit, get in touch with your bank to stop this immediately.
- If you’ve been targeted, even if you’re not a victim of it, report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, use the Action Fraud online reporting tool.
- Beware of follow-up scams. Sometimes after reporting a scam you might get targeted again by a fraudster who says they can get your money back.
- Check your credit file for free through, Credit Karma, MSE Credit Club, and ClearScore. You’re best to check it monthly for credit applications done by a fraudster.
If you want help to see if you may be able to get your money back, call Money Matters financial crimes and scams unit on 0800 015 4402.
Scamwise NI aims to raise awareness of scams and how to prevent them. The partnership has been developed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and a range of partners from public bodies, voluntary sector organisations and financial institutions.