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It can be difficult to know how to handle a situation when you are approached by an unknown person or organisation who tries to sell you something or persuade you to give them money or your personal details. This could be through cold calling, doorstep callers, email, telephone, or by post.

Taking sensible precautions can help make yourself less likely to be a victim of fraud or scams.

How can I protect myself against fraud and scams?

Always stop, think and be sceptical before signing anything or handing over any money. If an exciting offer seems too good to be true, think about the following warning signs and ask yourself if it is a scam:

Warning Signs to be aware of:

Was the offer unasked for?

Are you being pressurised or hurried?

Are you being contacted in a unexpected way? For a example a telephone call for a supposed unpaid bill when you are normally contacted by letter?

Do you have to pay for a prize or ‘free’ gift?

Do you have to ring a premium rate number (one starting with ‘09’)?

Are you being asked for your bank or credit card details?

Are you being asked to purchase gift cards to pay the company?

Are you being asked for your personal details, birth date, address or passwords?

Is the business reluctant to give you its address or contact details?

Are you being asked to keep the offer confidential?

If it is a telephone call, when you answer the phone does it take a little while for the call to connect? If so, this might suggest it is an electronic sales call

When you answer the phone is it a pre recorded message rather than a real person talking?

If it is an email, are you being asked to ‘click a link’ within the email to log in or re enter your personal details? Your bank would never ask you to enter all of your personal details via email. If in doubt contact your bank directly.

Don’t be afraid to say ‘no thank you’

If you are cold-called, don’t be afraid to say ‘no thank you’. If in doubt, you should take time to research the company and get some independent advice.