Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham
Recognising a scam
It’s important to keep an eye out for scams. They can and do affect anyone. Here are some of the main warning signs of scams to look out for:
• It seems too good to be true – like an email saying you’ve won a competition you don’t remember entering
• Someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly
• You’re being urged to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think about it or talk to family and friends
• You’ve been asked to pay for something urgently or in an unusual way – for example by bank transfer or gift vouchers
• You’ve been asked to give away personal information.
How to protect yourself from scams
There are some simple steps people can take to help protect themselves from scams:
• Don’t be rushed into making any quick decisions. It’s okay to take your time
• Never give money or personal details, like passwords or bank details, to anyone you don’t know, trust or have only met online. If someone pressures you for these, it’s most likely a scam
• Before you buy anything, check the company or website you’re using. Read reviews from different websites, search for the company’s details on Companies House, and take a look at their terms and conditions
• Pay by debit or credit card. This gives you extra protection if things go wrong
• Be suspicious. Scammers can be very smart. They can appear like a trusted business or government official, have a professional website and say all the right things. Take your time to work out if this is a real organisation. Ask them for ID or contact the organisation on a number you know and trust
• Make sure your antivirus software is up to date
• Keep your online accounts secure. Use a strong password for email accounts that you don’t use anywhere else. Choosing three random words is a good way to create a strong and easy to remember password. You can also add in numbers and symbols.
• If you’re not sure about something, get advice from a trusted source
What to do if you have been scammed
If someone has been scammed, there are 3 steps you need to take:
1. Protect yourself from further risks
There are things you can do to stop things getting worse. You should contact your bank immediately to let them know what’s happened. You should also change any relevant log-in details, and check for viruses if you were scammed on a computer.
2. Check if you can get your money back
If you’ve lost money because of a scam, there might be ways you can get it back. Again, make sure you tell your bank what happened straight away. If you’ve paid for something by card, bank transfer, Direct Debit or PayPal, then depending on the circumstances you might be able to get your money back.
3. Report the scam
Reporting scams helps authorities stop the criminals responsible, and protects others from being scammed. Anyone who’s been scammed should:
• Call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133. They’ll pass on details of the scam to Trading Standards, and can offer more advice
• Report the scam to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud. They’ll also give you a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you’ve been scammed
It’s also important for us to all talk about our experiences with family and friends. By letting them know what’s happened they can be prepared, and together we can put a stop to scams.
Call our free Adviceline on 0808 278 7962
Monday to Wednesday 9.30am to 4pm
Email us at: email@example.com anytime.
Drop in at our offices in the Eden Centre, Four Elms Road, Edenbridge TN8 6BY (Mon to Wed 10am to 3pm)