How to spot a scam

Scams are designed to be convincing. If someone you don’t know contacts you, be wary.

A scammer will:

  • contact you by phone, email, post, text message or in person
  • sound pleasant, well spoken and kind
  • appear to have slick, professional leaflets and letters
  • be persistent and persuasive
  • lead you to think you have been specially chosen
  • rush you into making a decision

They will tempt you with an enticing offer or exciting news, such as:

  • you have won a prize in a draw or a lottery even if you haven’t entered
  • you’ve been selected to join a money making scheme
  • you are entitled to a tax rebate
  • a chance to earn a fortune by helping them transfer money out of a foreign country

Then they will ask you to:

  • send or pay money as an administration fee or tax to free up the offer or prize
  • provide them with or confirm your bank account, credit card or even personal details
  • buy something to let you take advantage of the offer
  • phone a premium rate telephone number (starting with 09) for further information or to finalise the offer or claim the prize

The Metropolitan Police produces The Little Book of Big Scams (download from the Metropolitan Police (link opens in new window)) to help increase consumer awareness of the many types of scams currently operating in the UK.

Subscribe to our email alerts (link opens in new window) (including Be Scam Aware which contains scams and rogue traders reported as operating in our area).

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