Scams are schemes intended to con you out of money. They usually come by post, phone or email. Fake lotteries and prize draws, bogus psychic predictions, get rich quick investments and miracle health cures are just some of the many tricks that scammers and fraudsters try. The increased use of email and the internet has also created new opportunities for conmen and fraudsters.
Don't get scammed - get wise! How to avoid scams and identity theft
You can help to stop scammers by telling your friends and family and by making us aware of any scams that you have encountered. Advice on protecting yourself from scams, common types of scam and what to do if you think you are a victim is available from the following organisations:
Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Bureau provides a range of free information on detecting and avoiding scams and rip-offs, including information about the latest scams.
Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
The OFT offers a comprehensive list of types of scams (investment and general) and tips on how to recognise a scam.
Money made clear
The Financial Services Authority's (FSA) Moneymadeclear website provides information about current financial scams and what to look out for.
Card Watch is a body that works with the police, retailers and organisations, such as Crimestoppers, to help fight plastic card fraud. Their website has information about scams targeting card users.
Get Safe Online
Free expert advice on how to avoid fraudsters when shopping / banking online, stopping identity theft and blocking unwanted spam email.
If you've been scammed, ripped off or conned, there is something you can do about it. Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report online at www.actionfraud.org.uk
Reporting a scam
Contact our Trading Standards Service by using our eform, or alternatively on 01352 703189.
Unsolicited mail or telephone calls
You can make it more difficult for fraudsters to reach your family in the first place by reducing the number of offers you get:
Unsolicited mail: Contact the Mailing Preference Service, Freepost 22, London. W1E 7EZ. Or visit their website www.mpsonline.org.uk to register online.
Unsolicited telephone calls: Contact the Telephone Preference Service, 70 Margaret Street, London. SW1Y 4EE. 0845 070 0707. Or visit www.tpsonline.org.uk to register online.