How To Spot A Scam

Safe account scam

What you should look out for:

Cyber criminals will phone you and try to convince you that your money is at risk, and that you need to move it to a ‘safe account’. They might also try to impersonate the police, banks or insurance companies.

Ask yourself:

  • How do I know the caller is really who they claim to be?
  • Is my money/ personal information at risk?

Quick tip:

Only purchase goods through a reputable website/ app. For larger purchases (such as a car) make sure you see what you are buying before paying for anything.

Refund scam

What you should look out for:

Cyber criminals will phone you, posing as a trusted organisation and tell you there are issues with your computer, requesting remote access to fix it. They’ll say you’re owed compensation for the inconvenience, and will then ask you to log on to your online bank account. 

They then will claim that they’ve refunded you too much (as they have access to your computer, they will actually have remotely transferred money from your savings account to make it look like they have credited your current account). Then they will ask you to return the difference to them.

Ask yourself:

  • Is it safe to give this caller remote access to my computer?
  • Why would I need to pay back the overpayment at this moment?

Quick tip:

Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into allowing remote access to your devices. Be sure of who you are dealing with. Never log on to your online bank accounts while allowing someone remote access. 

 

Investment scam

What you should look out for:

Cyber fraudsters will phone you trying to sell you investments in emerging markets, claiming that they will make you money. For example: wine, diamonds, and alternative energy. In reality, these investments do not exist and you will not see any return on the money that you have invested.

Ask yourself:

  • How do I know this is a genuine company?

Quick tip:

Do research into a company before giving your personal information and banking details to them. Check if they have an online presence, reviews and if there are any reports or complaints of scamming incidents.

Purchase scam

What to look out for:

Fraudsters will advertise goods, holidays, or cars on a website online. They’ll ask you to pay via bank transfer but will never send the advertised item. 

Ask yourself:

  • Can I trust this advert?
  • Ho do I know the goods really exist?

Quick tip:

Only buy goods through a reputable website or app. For larger purchases (such as a car) make sure you see what you are buying before paying for anything.

Email hack scam

What you should look out for:

Fraudsters will hack service providers’ (often solicitors and builders) mail accounts and use them to send messages advising you to send payments to a different account. 

Ask yourself:

  • Why would I be asked to pay money into a different account?

Quick tip:

Be vigilant- fake email invoices can be very convincing. Use your supplier’s original contact details to check if any changes are genuine.

Rogue trader scam

What you should look out for:

Rogue traders will knock on your door and say they’re working in the area and that urgent work needs doing to your property. They may overcharge you for unnecessary work, or convince you to make full, upfront payments for partially completed work, then never return to finish it. 

Ask yourself:

  • Why would I have to make a rushed decision right now?
  • Do I trust this person to do a legitimate job and not overcharge me?

Quick tip:

Don’t feel too rushed to get work done by someone knocking on your door- take your time, do your research, and get quotes from several tradesmen before making any commitments.

Romance scam

What you should look out for:

Cyber criminals will build an online relationship with you to gain your trust and start asking for money for things like ‘medical fees for an ill relative’.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I trust this person is actually who they claim to be?

Quick tip:

Keep conversations through a reputable dating agency. Never send money to- or receive money from someone you have met online.

Courier scam

What you should look out for:

Cyber criminals will phone you impersonating your bank, building company or police, to try and dupe you into revealing your PIN. They will then attempt to convince you that, as part of an investigation, you need to hand over your debit/ credit card. 

They will arrange for you to pick up your card. They might also ask you to hand over a large sum of money to help with ‘the investigation’. 

Ask yourself:

  • Do I know or trust this person?
  • How do I know this is a real investigation?

Quick tip:

Never give out your banking information or take out money/ buy goods for someone who claims this necessary for an investigation. A genuine oganisation would never ask you to do this.

Money mule scam

What you should look out for:

This involves unknowingly helping fraudsters move stolen money. You will see what seems like a genuine job opportunity, but the earnings are from crime. This could result in criminal prosecution, your account being frozen and being branded as untrustworthy by banks. 

Ask yourself:

  • Is this a genuine job?
  • Why would they be asking me to transfer money on their behalf?

A reputable company will never ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. Do not accept any job offers that ask you to do this. Be especially wary of job offers from people/ companies overseas- it’ll be significantly more difficult for you to find out if they are genuine.