Recognising the four different types of scam

Scams cost the UK economy between £5-£10 billion every year. Scammers are continuously changing the ways they trick their victims to steal their money, personal data or valuable belongings.

Being clued up on different types of scam and fraud allows you to take steps to protect yourself, personal information and others in your community

Postal scams

There are many forms of postal scam, but they usually involve an attempt to steal money or personal information. This could be financial data, passwords/pin numbers.  Lottery or prize draw scams are very common and claim that the victim has won a large sum of money or a prize. In order to receive the prize, the victim is asked to send back their personal details, including banking details. These are then used to withdraw money.

Telephone scams

Telephone scams can be either a call or an SMS text message whereby a criminal attempts to steal personal information or take money from you over the phone.

Examples of this include the scammer:

  •  stating the victim has won an expensive prize, such as a holiday
  • pretending to be from an organisation, such as your bank, and attempting to take personal information from you. A genuine organisation would never call you out of the blue, especially to ask for personal details

Online scams

Online scams involve users being tricked into clicking on a link or attachment within an email or pop up that is harmful to their device.

This can be done by the scammer impersonating organisations, such as your bank or companies that handle online transactions like PayPal. The email appears legitimate to the untrained eye, meaning criminals find it very easy to trick people and steal their information.

You can avoid online scams by never clicking on something suspicious or unexpected. Also check the email address the message was sent from – the information after the @ symbol should be similar to the company’s website address.

Demonstration image

Doorstep scams

Fraudulent or bogus traders will knock on the doors of vulnerable people in an attempt to pose as legitimate traders selling unnecessary goods or services. As this scam is face-to-face, the victim often feels under pressure to pay for the service or goods to avoid confrontation.

Distraction burglary is another method criminals use as a doorstep scam. It usually consists of two people, one distracts you, while the other enters your home and steals goods. Legitimate traders will have a form of ID on them and you can ask to see this before opening the door.

Do you want to help others to spot when they might be being scammed?

You can become a Friend Against Scams by completing a short online training session will give you more information about the different types of scam and fraud, ways to protect yourself and your data as well as keeping an eye out for the vulnerable people in your community.