How to protect yourself from scammers
Many people think they’re too smart to be the victim of financial fraud; that they could spot a scammer a mile off. However, many scams are highly sophisticated, use well trained actors and are designed to catch you off guard. It’s a distressingly common crime and it’s been on the rise in recent years. The tools scammers use, such as texts, phone calls and emails, are deceptively simple, but the people who run them are professional criminals so you should always be on your guard. We’ve put together some simple tips on how to reduce the risk of being scammed.
  1. Take your time and triple check

If you think something isn’t quite right about an email or message you’ve received, there’s no harm in double-checking. Use online searches to look up unknown phone numbers. Keep an eye out for warnings and compare the unknown number against legitimate contact details on official websites, such as the FCA. Ring or email your bank directly to make sure they did actually contact you before giving out personal information.

  1. Use official online resources

 Official websites such as HMRC and Citizens Advice have a wealth of resources and advice available on their websites, which give detailed guidance on how to avoid scams. If you know what to look out for, you’re much more likely to spot potential scams. There are plenty of resources out there so make the most of them.

  1. Check financial statements and bills on a regular basis

We’re all guilty of not keeping up with our finances; sometimes life just gets in the way. However, getting into the practice of checking bank statements or your account online, and reading through bills thoroughly will pay dividends if it prevents you from being charged for something which you didn’t buy. Quicker ways to pay off bills, for example, setting up direct debits to pay off your credit card, can make it very easy for payments to go unnoticed, so you should always pay attention to what’s actually on your statement.

  1. Be vigilant on social media

It may seem obvious but avoid sharing personal details on social media such as contact details or financial information. If you’re contacting a bank with a query, first double-check it’s the official social media account and then message them privately – but don’t share any personal details beyond a phone number. Use the privacy settings on social media platforms, such as two-step authentication, to prevent scammers from gaining access or committing identity fraud. The fewer details scammers can find out about you, the harder it is for them to impersonate your bank or commit identify fraud.  

  1. If it’s too good to be true...

Be skeptical of anyone giving away something for free or anyone offering you money. If a company is asking for bank details whilst giving away cash prizes, alarm bells should ring. Scammers can use rewards as enticements to get you to click on certain links or give away personal details, so always be on your guard. 

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