Scams: our top tips to keep yourself safe

Woman looking worried with hands clasped in front of mouth
23 Aug 2019

Have you ever been scammed?

Whether the answer’s ‘yes’ or ‘not yet’, it’s important to protect yourself from scams as much as possible.

Our tips for scam prevention are common-sense and practical. And following them is a lot easier than trying to sort out the mess after a scammer has got hold of your money.

These top tips for scam and fraud prevention come from our Protect yourself against scams guide.

Be scam aware

Scammers are clever. They don’t care about you, even if they pretend to. They’re after your money, and they’re experts in getting it from you.

They target:

  • older people
  • people they think are vulnerable, lonely or isolated
  • people who are at home most of the time

But anyone and everyone could be targeted by a scammer.

Types of scam 

To protect yourself from being scammed, it’s useful to know the most common types of scam. These include:

  • Identity fraud, when scammers steal your personal information. There are many ways they do this, such as unexpected phone calls, emails, letters or texts.
  • Doorstep scams, when people come to your door and try to get into your house or try to persuade you to give them money

There’s more about the different types of scams to be aware of in our Protect yourself against scams guide.

Scammers may contact you

  • in person
  • online
  • on social media
  • by post
  • by phone or text

How to protect yourself

There are some basic rules to follow to avoid being scammed:

  • Don’t click on a link from an unsolicited email.
  • Don’t click on website links unless you’re sure of what they link to. If in doubt, find another link to the page you want. Never click on pop-up offers.
  • If a cold caller rings you, don’t ring any number they ask you to. If you do want to follow up with a phone call, look up the organisation’s number and ring it later. Or just hang up.
  • If someone comes to your door, don’t buy anything. Take details and check before you follow anything up. Don't let anyone in unless you want to.

There’s more advice in our Protect yourself against scams guide.

If scammers have contacted you 

If you think scammers have contacted you, always tell the police through Action Fraud. They deal with scams all the time and they won’t judge you. Did you know that research shows that intelligent, educated people are at high risk from being scammed?

And by contacting Action Fraud you can help stop other people being scammed. Your information could even help the police catch the scammers.

Remember – if in doubt, don’t click, phone or buy. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Read more advice in our Protect yourself against scams guide.