Cost of living scams
Criminals are using the rising cost of living in the UK to their advantage. Fraudsters know people are awaiting Government support payments, looking to make money go further or hunting for deals when buying food or fuel and they are exploiting it.
Some of the scams people are reporting include; non-existing supermarket food and fuel card offers, fake energy rebates or cost of living payments and fake investments. Fraudsters are contacting people by text message, phone call, email or through adverts on social media. You can learn more about these scams and others on the Which? website.
Continue reading to get our 'Tips to avoid being scammed', they could help you and those closest to you avoid these crimes.
Home energy efficiency scams
There are a number of bogus companies offering green home grants or home energy saving measures to residents. The grants being offered don't always exist or the services offered can be very expensive. Residents are being contacted by phone, text, letter, email and online. The bogus companies may say they are acting on behalf of the Government or the Local Authority, when they are not. If you would like to find out how to make your home more energy efficient, contact the Energy Saving Trust. Energy advice for your home - Energy Saving Trust
There has been an increase in the 'Friend in Need' WhatsApp scam. This involves fraudsters sending messages to people claiming to be their family or friend and stating they are need of help. The fraudsters usually say they are a family member and they have lost or broken their phone and they're using a different number. They will go on to ask for money to be sent urgently to buy a new phone or pay a bill. Fraudsters will then give their bank details and if money is sent, further requests will be made.
There are many types of investment fraud out there. They usually involve fraudsters contacting people out of the blue or advertising too good to be true offers on social media. In some cases the offers of investment can seem realistic, but they are quite often worthless or don't exist. If you are considering making an investment, check the Financial Conduct Authority's Scam Smart webpage first - FCA Warning List - investment scam checker | FCA
Tips to avoid being scammed
- Be suspicious of any contact that has come out of the blue, especially those making 'too good to be true' offers.
- With any contact, take your time and don’t be rushed into making a decision. Always try and stay in control of the situation.
- Just because they seem to know you, it doesn't mean you know them. So don't hand over any bits or your personal information or bank details if you are unsure.
- If someone is pushing you to accept a service or goods, they are unlikely to be genuine.
- Never send money to anyone you don't know or trust.
- Don't buy any goods or services at your front door.
- Never click on links you are unsure off.
- Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
- If you are looking at buying goods or services, do your research first.
- If you are unsure about something, ask a friend or relative or seek advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline, you can find their details below.
How to report a scam
If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.
To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others,visit Friends Against Scams and complete the free online training.
Page last reviewed: 08 September 2022
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