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Scams and Cons - How to protect yourself
Every year many people are conned into parting with their money by well-organised tricksters. Both consumers and businesses are targeted.
New: Make sure you don't buy fake concert tickets
Protect yourself from fraud and touts. There are fake websites about that claim to sell tickets to festivals, concerts and other events. In reality, they take your money without providing anything in return. And then they vanish. The website SafeConcerts.com gives really good advice, and has a website checker so you can check out the seller before you buy. Avoid fraud and touts with SafeConcert.com
Watch out for the electricity meter top-up scam
A new UK-wide scam started in the summer of 2010, affecting people with prepayment electricity meters. Make sure you don't get caught out, as you could end up paying twice. Visit the website Top Up Safe for more advice..
Did you know that British consumers lose £3.5 billion a year on scams? This DVD was made by the Office of Fair Trading and can be viewed on YouTube. Watch it if you're worried about falling victim to a scam, or to help you protect relatives or friends.
This website was set up by relatives of a woman who became a victim of scam mail. Please visit it to read more about what you can do to protect your relatives or yourself.
How to spot a scam
It might be a letter, email, telephone call or text message. There are so many different types of scams, it's difficult to list them all, but you can see many of them on the Consumer Direct website.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Was the offer unsolicited?
- Does it look too good to be true?
- Do I have to send money up front?
- Do I have to respond 'at once'?
- Do I have to make a purchase to win a prize?
- Do I have to ring a premium rate phone number?
- Do I have to give my bank or credit card details?
- Do I have to send the money to a PO Box number?
- Do I have to send money by bank transfer?
- Am I asked to keep it confidential?
If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes' then you may be the target of a scam.
Before you part with any money or send any personal details, take advice from Trading Standards or Consumer Direct. The chances are, once you have sent money, you will never see it again.
See the links on the right for scams advice from Consumer Direct website, the Office of Fair Trading website and the Financial Services Authority website. All of these are full of information and advice on the latest scams and how to avoid being caught out.
Click here to contact the Telephone Preference Service to stop telephone sales calls, and the Mailing Preference Service to cut down on junk mail.