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As scams become more sophisticated with technology advances, Danielle Clements, legal expert in dispute and consumer law, discusses various ways to protect yourself from 4 of the most common scams in the UK. Below is a summary of Danielle’s comments for Yours magazine

Email Scams

‘Attention’, ‘Your account has been hacked’, ‘Congratulations’. Almost everyone with an email address will have received spam email of some kind. You need to look out for emails that have come from unrecognised senders or those with grammatical errors. If the subject line has a real sense of urgency, it’s probably suspicious. Also if any email asks you to confirm personal information – bank details, passwords etc – treat with extreme caution.

Protect yourself by not clicking on links, downloading attachments, replying or providing any personal information to emails that look suspicious. You can set filters by going into your spam settings to stop dodgy emails coming through. When completing forms check the small print and tick boxes to make sure you’re not signing up to unwanted emails, or even have a separate email address for online purchases and newsletters.

Doorstep Scams

Still a problem, door-to-door scammers may try to sell products that are poor quality or never delivered, or make you pay for unnecessary home improvements.

Look out for pressure selling offering a ‘today only’ deal making you make a decision on the spot – reject it. Legitimate market researchers do approach houses but be wary about giving personal details away on the doorstep as scammers also use this technique.

To protect yourself always get three written quotes when having work carried out and if you get an unexpected caller, ask for ID and check their credentials.

Phone Scams

We’ve all had the phone call just as we are sitting down to eat…a call from the bank or authorities should ring alarm bells. Banks will never contact you and ask for your security details and PIN. Scammers will try to convince you to reveal private information or force you into a sale – beware!

If a call doesn’t feel right just put the phone down. If the caller claims to be from your bank or a company you have a relationship with, check past paperwork for a legitimate number and call them back. You can also speak to your telephone provider about call barring and stop cold calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service.

Dream Holiday Scams

Holiday fraud involves selling holidays at a low price with a catch. They often come out of the blue in an email, phone call or via a letter. It’s only when you’ve paid for a seemingly fantastic holiday that you discover it doesn’t exist.

Watch out for companies with little or no history to check, if you’ve been asked to pay in cash or if it’s on a villa rental website as fraudsters often use these to advertise an apartment that doesn’t exist.

Make sure the company are registered with a trade body such as ABTA (www.abta.com) and check the company’s name and postal address.

You can read the full article in Yours magazine issue 246 in the Good to Know section.