How to stay safe from scammers

In the first six months of 2019, scammers stole £616m from UK bank accounts, £207.5m of that figure was from scams that meant people were authorising payments into accounts controlled by criminals. These numbers continue to rise year on year, so we’ve put together a guide to help you avoid being their latest victim!


What is a scam?

Scams can come in many forms, from viruses on your computer to being duped into transferring funds via an email from a stranger; there are a number of ways scammers convince people to part with their hard-earned money. 

These scams usually originate from an email, which includes a link to a fake site, or a simple request for your details.


How do you recognise an email scam?

The key to avoiding scams is to educate yourself, so you can try and identify them first. Look out for emails from people you don’t know, especially ones that revolve around money. These are nearly always from criminals and people trying to get hold of your personal details.

Scammers can be very sloppy, so watch out for poor grammar and spelling as these can be telltale signs that something is wrong. If you can,  check the sender’s email address, emails from legitimate services will have authentic email addressed whereas scammers will use free email services such as Gmail or Yahoo mail.


What should I do if I receive one of these emails?

If you receive an email that you believe is from a scammer, best practice is to delete the email straight away and not interact with it in any way. As well as guiding you to fraudulent sites, these scam emails are often riddled with viruses which can not only destroy files on your phone but track and steal information from your computer so avoid these as best you can.


How can I avoid receiving scams? 

The best way to avoid these scams is to be careful where you enter your information, whether; it’s signing up to a web service or joining a mailing list, there are many places which may require your email address. Some services may sell your information online, which makes it readily available to hackers and scammers.

If you’d like to take a slightly different approach to solve the issue, you can use free email services such as Gmail to create a spare email address to use when signing up for services online. This way you can still use your normal email address for important things like your bank and services you can trust, i.e. Netflix, Spotify, Disney+ etc. so you can still get access to the information you need when you need and avoid unwanted spam.

The best thing you can do to avoid scams is to be vigilant, be careful where you put your personal information and be wary of any emails you receive from strangers. Being cautious will help you avoid any potential scams and keep your money and personal information safe.