Look Out! How to be aware of scams

For more than six decades we have helped thousands of people to move forward at times of upheaval and uncertainty. Although the challenges being faced are changing, we continue to provide a valuable free and impartial service that you can trust.
"In a time of crisis and uncertainty you became a beacon and huge support ... a lifeline in fact."

"I've been hearing a lot about people fleecing old people on the phone during the pandemic. I just don't know who to trust and who not to trust. How do I know if I'm being scammed?"

Regrettably people are telling us they are being scammed during the Covid-19 emergency, fraudsters are as active now as they have ever been, perhaps even more so. There’s no shame in falling victim to a scam, anyone of us can be scammed, you don’t have to be old, or vulnerable, or negligent in giving away your personal information, scams can be very sophisticated and often they look authentic so if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam don’t hide away, take action to report the scammers and do what you can to protect yourself and limit the damage. Here’s 5 ways to avoid getting caught with a scam on-line to get you thinking.

1. Do your research

Scams today are more sophisticated than ever before. Scammers will appear like a trusted business or government official. They will have a professional website and they’ll say all the right things. Take your time to work out if this is a real organisation. Ask them for ID or contact the organisation on a number you know and trust. If you’re still in doubt, Google the name of the company and ‘scam’, to see if any horror stories come up.

2. Don’t click on unknown links

Whether it’s an offer for a coronavirus testing kit or a refund on your holiday, never click on unknown attachments or links. Scammers prey on our health and money worries by sending us links to offers that appear too good to be true. Criminals use links to capture personal information or download viruses onto your devices. Both of which can result in financial or identity fraud.

3. Be suspicious

Don’t take anything at face value during this time. Common scams at the moment prey on the fact that we’re more vulnerable than ever. We’re worried about our families, health, money and work. It will take us longer than usual to realise something isn’t right.

4. Never give out personal information or money to anyone you don’t trust

Never send money to people you don’t know. Don’t share logins, passwords or bank details with someone you don’t trust. If someone pressures you for money or sensitive information up front it is most likely a scam.

5. Report it

And finally, report it. If you’ve been the victim of an online scam contact the  or over the phone 0808 2505050. If you’ve been scammed out of money, report it to your bank first.

It’s important we work together to keep our family and friends safe online. Share our top tips with your community to help protect them from frauds and scams.

Examples of online coronavirus scams
Companies offering fake holiday refunds
Virus testing kits or vaccines
Overpriced or fake good such as facemasks, hand sanitiser and hard-to-get goods
Fake online resources such as sensationalist articles or false coronavirus maps
Emails using voluntary action as a hook for people to share their personal details

If you think you have been the victim of a scam and want to see what can be done about it, contact us here

For more Look Outs with Alison Dunn, click here

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