Scam logoEach year millions of UK consumers fall victim to scams.

Scams can be carried out over the phone, in person, by fax, or over the internet, and victims can end up losing thousands of pounds.

Scams can take many different forms, but most have several things in common.

Staying alert to these will help protect you from getting hooked in.

If the answer is YES to any of these questions, it could be a scam. Is it:

• an uninvited message or letter from a name or number you don’t recognise?

• tempting you with something for nothing – prizes or an easy way of making money?

One specific scam to watch out for is the ‘missed call’ scam.

Victims receive a missed call from a number beginning 070 or 076. These numbers are used as they appear to be calls from a mobile phone number.

However, when the victim tries to call the number back, the call is immediately dropped or an engaged tone is played and the victim is charged 50p for making the call.

If you receive a missed call from a number beginning 070 or 076 that you do not recognise, do not call it back.

Instead, make a note of the number and complain to the premium rate regulator, PhonepayPlus (Tel: 0300 30 300 20)

• tempting you with something that could change your life for the better?

• asking you to send money up-front or buy something up-front before you get the prize or offer?

• persuasive and rushing you into a quick decision?

• asking you to make expensive phone calls (premium rate numbers start with 090) to get the prize or offer?

• asking for your bank details or other personal information?

• using a mobile or PO box for its contact address? These are easy to close and difficult to trace and may be a sign that the company doesn’t exist or isn't legitimate.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam

To report a scam, contact: Action Fraud - it is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre. If you’ve been scammed, ripped off or conned, you can report the fraud to them.

Further advice

The organisations listed below are just a few that offer advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of scams, as well as offering information on the latest scamming techniques to watch out for. ActionFraud

Citizens Advice Bureau

Ministry of Justice 

  Download a PDF version of this guide

Download a PDF version of the complete Nuisance Calls and Messages Guide