Avoiding Scams & Protecting Your Money

Unfortunately, some people will try and take advantage of others and try and steal their money from them.

Here's how to avoid being scammed by showing you the most common ways people lose their money.

HMRC Scams

Received an email or text telling you that HMRC are going to give you some money? Does it tell you that all you need to do is click a link and enter your bank details? Stop - it's probably a scam!

HMRC has a really useful site where they show some examples of scams - so if you ever get a message from someone claiming to be HMRC, you can check it there before doing anything.

If you're ever unsure - don't click on links and don't ever give out your bank details. Either log on to your HMRC account or give them a call first!

If you do end up handing over your details, make sure to call HMRC and report any scam you have been a victim of. 

Bank Scams

Has someone offered you financial advice out of the blue? Or has told you that you're at risk of losing some money? 

Remember, your bank will never ask you to:

  • tell them details like your PIN number over the phone or email
  • log into your online banking via a link in an email, text or social media message
  • transfer your money to a 'safe account'
  • update your details directly from a link in an email or text
  • ask you to download software that isn't an online banking app

If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, call your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud.

Cold Calls

Has an unknown number called you to ask if you've been in an accident, or to say they're from Microsoft or Apple and that your computer has been hacked?

Hang up and don't say a word, these are people trying to scam you! 

If you can, sign up for the Telephone Preference Service which should stop cold callers from getting in contact with you. Citizens Advice have some useful advice on stopping scam or nuisance calls and texts.

Try and jot down the number if it's available. You can report lots of different types of nuisance or cold calls on the Ofcom website. 

Email and Text Scams 

Scams have evolved over the years and have gotten pretty sneaky!

Most scams try and pretend they are an email or text message from your bank, or from PayPal, to try and get you to hand over your personal details. Sometimes they even make it look like a very similar email address or number to the real one to try to fool you.

Often you can try and catch these out by looking at the email address or phone number of the sender, click on it in the message - does it seem legitimate? You could try searching for it on Google and see what results come up. 

Or, you might find that there are lots of spelling mistakes in the text or email - that's usually a pretty good giveaway that it's not the real deal.

Not sure? Head to the website directly and log into your account - never click a link in an email if you have doubts about it. 

If it turns out to be a scam, remember to report it to the National Cyber Security Centre by forwarding it to report@phishing.gov.uk.

Work Scams

It's hard when you're job hunting - you want as many chances as possible to land a dream job. But it's really important to be careful.

Most job scams are email-based, and rarely involve meeting recruiters face-to-face. 

How to spot a job scam:

  • they ask you to pay for admin fees or to do background security checks 
  • the job advert has lots of spelling and grammar errors
  • you can't find a company address on their website, or they don't pick up the phone if they have a number listed 
  • they insist that you use travel and accommodation that they book for you or the agency they've referred you to.

If you are suspicious about a recruiter, have been targeted or are the victim of a scam, you can report it to SAFERjobs. 

Check out our Spot the Scam quiz and test your knowledge with Digi, Aye?

Find more information on managing money on Money & Me.