There are many types of scams that can be carried out on the internet, over the phone or in person. Some scams are designed to steal your money and some are designed to steal your personal details or identity. If you know what to look out for, you can help prevent yourself from being a victim of these scams.
Types of Scams
One of the most common scams involves people claiming to be from gas, electricity or water companies, often using the threat that your services will be cut if you don’t pay a bill immediately. They may ask you to wire money, pay a reloadable card or use another service that makes it impossible to track where the payment goes.
A variation on this scam involves someone claiming to be from your IT company and asking you to allow them to access your computer to fix a problem. They may then try to steal your passwords and other sensitive information.
This is a popular scam for businesses. Criminals impersonate your business’s vendors and change the bank details on invoices so that you send money to them instead of to the vendor. They then take the money and run, leaving you with no goods or services.
Get-rich-quick schemes and other investments scams are a popular way for criminals to trick you into handing over your money. They often promise high returns or low risks, but you should always be very suspicious of offers that seem too good to be true.
These scams usually involve fake websites that mimic the look of genuine companies and ask you to provide your credit or debit card details in order to buy products or services. Alternatively, they may trick you into downloading malware that will allow them to gain access to your device and steal your information or funds.
Scammers may pretend to be representatives of government bodies like HMRC, or a passport office. They can charge you a fee for processing or renewing official documents that you can do yourself for free, or for a service that does not exist at all.
Romance scams are a way for fraudsters to build up trust with their victims before taking money or personal details. They might build up a relationship over several months before asking for a loan or access to their finances.
Criminals can sell your credit or debit card information on the Dark Web for as little as $14 (£11) and then use it to make illegal purchases, or create duplicate cards that you can then take money from, without you knowing. This is called familial fraud and is a growing problem.
It’s easy for criminals to obtain your card details from a’skimmer’ at an ATM or by hacking into your online banking account. They can then use this to make fraudulent purchases and then forward the money on, making it much harder for you to catch them. Scammers can also target your children through social media or other online platforms and offer them jobs or prizes for ‘helping’ them to find or create stolen money or credit.