Don’t become a victim to a scam this Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be the time of peace and goodwill to all, but unfortunately it also provides golden opportunities for scammers and fraudsters.

To help protect our customers from the latest scams, we’ve put together some advice on what to look out for so you can avoid being duped. This will help you to recognise a scam and to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Common scams

Fraudsters often adopt a fake identity to commit crimes. They might:

  • Pretend to work for a well-known company or charity.
  • Persuade you to buy goods that are not for sale, don’t exist or are worthless.
  • Provide a service, often of poor quality (such as building work or resurfacing driveways) but charge you many times the price they quoted, often using threats to get payment.
  • Trick you into giving them money, even large amounts, possibly over a long period of time, with the promise of making you more money. For example, bogus lottery wins or inheritance scams where they might demand money from you in order to receive your fictitious prize or inheritance.
  • Persuade you to invest your pension in fake pension plans that have little value, are not suited to your long-term needs or are worthless.

Identify theft

Identity theft is when someone commits fraud by using your personal details to carry out a crime. This can include opening bank accounts, applying for loans or purchasing goods and services using your bank details and money. It can also extend to ‘borrowing’ your identity to hide debts or poor credit ratings and, in extreme cases, creating fake identity documents. This crime can be extremely damaging as not only do you feel powerless to stop the crimes being committed, you may not even be aware that it’s happening.

To prevent you from becoming a victim to a scam always remember to:

  • Avoid any unexpected contact including random phone calls, letters, emails or knocks at the door.
  • Never give out your personal information. This can be used to steal your identity and access your accounts.
  • Make sure all your accounts have a strong password. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts and change them regularly.
  • Do not make advanced payments until you are sure the company you are dealing with is legitimate.
  • Never make a bank transfer payment to individuals in advance of receiving goods or a service as this offers no protection to you as a buyer.
  • Be aware that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.