How to Spot a Scam

Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to any of them, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.

1. Have you been contacted out of the blue?
Cold calls or unexpected emails or messages should raise suspicion, especially if you’re asked to give personal or payment details. It’s very unusual for legitimate organisations to contact you and ask for sensitive information if you’re not expecting them to. If you’re not 100% convinced about the identity of the caller, hang up and contact the company directly.

2. Have you been asked to share personal details?
Never share your personal details with anyone if you can’t confirm they are who they say they are. Phone scammers will often try and get valuable personal data from you, and they can use this to steal your money, or even to use your identity to use fraudulently.

3. Are you being asked to keep it secret?
It’s important you can discuss any agreements with your friends, family or advisors. Asking you to keep quiet is a way to keep you away from the advice and support you need in making a decision.

4. Are you being pressured to make a decision?
Fraudsters often try to hurry your decision making. Don’t let anyone make you feel under pressure – it’s OK to take a break and think things through if you’re not sure. Sales staff should always give you time and space to make an informed decision; anyone who tries to rush you should not be trusted.

5. Are there spelling and grammar mistakes?
Emails or messages littered with spelling and grammar mistakes are a scam giveaway. Legitimate organisations will rarely, if ever, make spelling or grammatical mistakes in their emails to you because they’ve been put together by professionals and checked before they’re sent.

David Rose

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