Smart Consumer: Don't be the one-in-10 who gets scammed!
Published 07/04/2011 | 05:00
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It doesn't matter where you live, what your social class is or whether you're male or female. Although if you're aged between 16 and 24 you are more likely to get caught out.
I'm talking about scams.
We may have celebrated April Fool's Day last week, but you can easily be fooled into handing over money, or into giving away personal information by a scam.
According to new research from the National Consumer Agency (NCA), 11% of the population have lost out.
A whopping 61% of respondents had been targeted, and the age group most vulnerable is 35-to-54-year-olds.
But whatever your age you need to know how to spot a scam and how to avoid them.
- Be wary about any email, telephone call or mail you receive that is unsolicited and offers you something for nothing. Why would someone want to give you something for free anyway?
- If there is a company name, contact the firm independently and not by return email or the number provided, to check them out. They could be fraudsters posing as the real thing.
- If someone "overpays" you by cheque and asks you to send the overpayment back to them, wait until the cheque has cleared.
Usually it will bounce and you'll have sent back your own money and received nothing.
- Never send personal banking details to someone who has contacted you for them.
Legitimate companies don't operate this way.