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How to spot money scams

Written byKoyo Loans
Last Updated1st December 2022
Contents
  • It seems too good to be true 
  • The method of payment is unusual 
  • You have been asked for your password or pin number 
  • They request remote access to your computer 
  • The person on the phone is rude and impatient 
  • You are asked to go to the bank to make a payment 
  • How to report a scam

In 2021 alone, victims in the UK lost a combined total of £1.3 billion in online fraud. Unfortunately, scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated and are using technology to swindle innocent people from their hard-earned money. To protect yourself from falling foul to criminals, here are some top tips that will help you spot money scams, as well as some advice on what to do if you identify a scam. 

It seems too good to be true 

While there’s nothing better than discovering a true bargain, the reality is that if something is too good to be true, then it probably is. For instance, you might be offered a holiday at a huge discount or a special mobile phone deal. If someone contacts you out of the blue to offer you something that seems far too good to be true, then it’s best not to act on impulse. Take time to do your due diligence and make sure that any offer you receive is legitimate before taking advantage of it.

The method of payment is unusual 

Many scammers don’t provide their victims with traditional payment options, such as bank transfers or debit cards. If someone asks you to make a payment in iTunes vouchers or by a money transfer service like Western Union, for instance, it could be that they’re involved with a scam. Granted, this isn’t always the case, but if the requested payment method raises your suspicion, it’s important not to go ahead with the transaction. 

You have been asked for your password or pin number 

If someone calls you and asks you for your password or pin number, you should never give it out. Banks and other financial institutions never ask for your pin or password, as it is yours and yours alone. The same is true of your national insurance number. Also, scammers might ask you for answers to your memorable questions – be it your mother’s maiden name or the primary school that you attended. They can use this information to hack your account, so you should never give it out over the phone if you’re unsure about the person you’re speaking to.

They request remote access to your computer 

Some sophisticated scammers ask for remote access to your computer while you’re talking to them on the phone. This allows them to take control of your computer screen and access your personal and financial data. Naturally, you should never permit someone remote access to your computer over the phone. If someone asks for remote access, end the call immediately and report the caller as spam. 

The person on the phone is rude and impatient 

Often, scammers are rude and impatient when trying to extort their victims and exhibit behaviour that legitimate customer service agents never would. If the person on the phone tells you to be quiet and loses their patience with you throughout the conversation, it’s a sign that you’re not speaking with a legitimate customer service agent. Scammers may even threaten you with arrest if you don’t comply with their demands, which is something that customer service agents would also never do. 

You are asked to go to the bank to make a payment 

Another trick that scammers often employ is asking you to go to your bank or building society to make a payment to a specific account. They are also likely to ask you to remain on the phone as you travel to the bank and process the payment. So, if someone has called you on the phone and asked you to leave home to send them some money, this is a significant red flag that indicates that you’re dealing with a scammer. 

How to report a scam

Scams are a dangerous invasion of your privacy, and if you spot one, it’s important to report it. You can report scams directly to the National Cyber Security Centre, or you can learn more about how to deal with scams by visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau

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