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Scams Awareness

Spot Scams Stop Scams

Scams are schemes to con you out of your money. They can arrive by post, phone call, text message or email, or by a scammer turning up at your home.

It could be a scam if:

  • the call, letter, email or text has come out of the blue

  • you’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about and didn’t buy a ticket

  • you are asked to send money in advance

  • you are told you have to respond quickly so I don’t get time to think about it or talk to family and friends before you decide

  • you are told to keep it a secret

Stop Scams

A scammer may:

  • contact you out of the blue

  • make promises that sound too good to be true - if something sounds too good to be true it probably is

  • ask you to pay for something up-front - for example, they'll ask you to pay a fee before you can claim a prize

  • ask you to make a quick decision by saying things like ‘if you don’t act now you’ll miss out’. This puts you under pressure and doesn’t give you time to think

  • be over-familiar and over-friendly with you

  • tell you an offer has to be kept secret

  • ask for your bank account details. Never give your bank details to people you don’t know, especially people you meet online

  • give a mobile number or PO Box number as the contact for their company- these are easy to close and difficult to trace. It may be a sign that the company doesn’t exist or isn't legitimate. Check out the company's details with Companies House or look on the internet for more details about them.

  •  If you think something might be a scam, don’t reply - then throw it away, delete it or hang up and get further advice.

Tips on avoiding scams

Register with the Mailing Preference Service to cut down on unwanted direct mail that is addressed to you: visit  or phone 0845 703 4599.

Royal Mail also has an opt out scheme through which you can choose not to have materials put through the door.

Register with the Telephone Preference Service to cut down on unwanted phone calls, texts and SMS messages.

Forward spam texts to your mobile provider – 7726 for Everything Everywhere (O2 & Orange), 37726 for 3, 87726 for Vodafone.

Report a scam

If you have been targeted by a scam, or know someone who has then please report it at or ring the ASB Reporting Line on 020 7527 7272.

If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam, contact your bank or credit card company.

You can get further advice on scams through these websites:

Financial Fraud Action UK
The Little Book of Big Scams  

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