Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 11/06/2019

This week marks the start of National Scams Awareness Fortnight, a campaign set up by Citizens Advice to alert consumers what to do if they see or experience a scam.

The increase in online shopping and banking over the last decade has led to scams and cyber fraud hitting the headlines over the last few years. According to data released by Shieldpay, one in four (23%) British consumers have been the victim of fraud when shopping online and the cost of online scams for those targeted while purchasing an item online was an average of £608 – with one in seven (14%) victims defrauded by more than £1,000.

Scam refund scheme

The good news for consumers is that last month eight major high street banks and building societies signed up to a voluntary agreement to refund the victims of fraud, especially for scams known as push payment cons. While this offers consumers an opportunity to have their money refunded in the event of a scam, it is still vital that consumers aim to protect themselves against being defrauded as the surest way of safeguarding their money from criminals.

How to spot a scam

An important way that consumers can protect themselves from fraud is to recognise an activity that could indicate a scam. As part of its campaign against scams, Citizens Advice has provided the following advice that something may be a scam if:

  • It seems too good to be true – for example, a holiday that is significantly cheaper than expected
  • Someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly
  • You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – for example, if there’s no postal address
  • You’ve been asked to transfer money quickly
  • You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way – for example, by vouchers or wire transfer
  • You’ve been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs.

Ways to protect yourself from scams:

  • Don’t click or download content you don’t trust and make sure your anti-virus protection is up to date
  • Don’t give away your personal data or information – it may be used to help guess your passwords
  • Use strong and unique passwords for the online and telephone-based services you use
  • Check how your bank will communicate with you and the types of things they will and won’t ask you when they contact you
  • If in doubt, end the call, leave the email and take a moment to reflect on who has contacted you and why – make sure your phone line is clear with a ringing tone before you call back the organisation who has supposedly called you.
Disclaimer

Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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