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Top 10 Scams To Avoid !

The logic behind all cons is the same: victims are either trusting and vulnerable or simply trusting. It's just a matter of coming up with the right bait – and that changes all the time..

So just when you think you know a scam from a security check, the criminals come up with something new to separate you from your cash or acquire enough of your personal data to steal your identity.  Here's our pick of the top ten scams to avoid and what to do about them.

1. The job opportunities scam
With unemployment soaring, this scam is growing in popularity. There you are, scanning a jobs website or the small ads in the hope of earning an honest wage. Or maybe an e-mail arrives promising the job of your dreams. Either way, the job description, company logo and website look legitimate – but when you get to the application form, it demands enough information to impersonate you and borrow money in your name.
Double check the company or recruitment organisation independently, using the phone book and local friend's. If necessary, go the address you're given to be sure it's legitimate.

2. The ticketing scam
You're desperate for tickets to the Football World Cup in South Africa, Glastonbury or another major event but you've left things too late. Then you see an ad promising the tickets you want at a price you can afford. Often, these simply don't turn up but you could be sent fakes. Worse still, the information you give could be used to target your home for a burglary or your identity for a fraud.
Stick to official ticket agencies or hospitality companies. It's better to miss an event than to lose your money and identity.

3. The charity donation scam
The Haitian earthquake will trigger an outpouring of generosity – and is a classic opportunity for crooks to send e-mails and letters and create websites asking for donations to help the survivors. The money ends up in criminal pockets instead – and, if you've paid by credit or debit card, your account could be maxed out as well. Natural disasters, victims of conflict and global health issues are the causes most commonly hi-jacked in this way.
Look for the Charity Commission number on any communication, then visit www.charity-commission.gov.uk and type it in. If there's no number or you can't find the charity listed, give your money to a reputable organisation such as the Red Cross or the Disasters Emergency Committee (www.dec.org.uk).

4. The e-card scam
When you get an e-mail notifying you that you've been sent an e-card, you have to click through to a website to see it. This simple act could download a virus onto your computer, exposing everything on it to hackers. Needless to say, they're after your banking, cards and financial information.
Don't open an e-card unless you recognise the sender's full name – some scammers use common forenames that will be the same as one of your friends'.

5. The investment opportunity scam
With interest rates at rock bottom, watch out for offers of brilliant investment opportunities delivering stellar returns. Of course, you have to set up an account with the genius behind this scheme, who not only collects the cash you want to invest but gets the bonus of your full personal and bank account details.
Anything that seems too good to be true almost certainly is too good to be true, so don't get involved.

6. The get rich quick scam
With money too tight to mention, many people are looking for a second source of income and turn to promises of easy pickings when you work from home, often in your spare time. The price for this opportunity can be high – and you never get the information, advice and support you've paid for.
Be wary of get–rich–quick schemes that don't tell you what you have to do and how to do it. And look for a money back guarantee if you're not satisfied – genuine companies offer them.

7. The card security code scam
You get a call from someone purporting to be from Visa or MasterCard and asking if you have bought a specific item for a certain price. You say no and they tell you that the transaction has already gone through but they'll refund the money - if you give them the security code on the back of the card. These crooks already have your name, address and card number and can now use the card on the phone or Internet. Never give this information out to cold callers. Instead, call the organisation that issued your card – the number will be printed on it – and tell them what's happened. They'll block your account and get you a new card.

8. The "Give us a fiver" scam
You see an ad in a local paper or shop window promising to tell you how to make lots of money – if you send them £5. In return, you get a letter suggesting that you run an identical ad.
There's no such thing as a free lunch. Why not spend the fiver on a magazine and a coffee instead?

9. The survey scam
"Do you have a few moments to help with a survey?" If you can't resist this approach – face–to–face, on the phone or online – you could be about to give away your identity along with your opinions if you provide full name, date of birth, phone numbers, full address or any information that you use for PINs or passwords, such as your children's names or your wedding anniversary.
Think before you give personal data to a stranger. It's better to say no than to discover that your details have been used to open new credit accounts, run up bills – and ruin your credit rating.

10. The security update scam
You're sent an e–mail that seems to come from your bank or card provider, telling you that the security parameters for your account need to be verified or reset. You click through to an apparently genuine website – and give all your account data to the criminals who set it up. One variant asks you to renew a direct debit or transfer arrangement. Another downloads a virus onto your hard disk when you visit the website. Always call the organisation the e–mail claims to come from before giving out any information – use a number you already have or look it up independently, rather than using contact details given in the e-mail or related website.

And if you're worried that you've been scammed...
Report the incident to the police or organisation concerned. Then check your bank and card statements and take a good look at your credit report. This history of your credit accounts lists new applications, your payment record and, in some cases, your balances, so you can easily spot suspicious entries – and stop problems before they escalate. Regular checks are a great way to protect you from ID fraud and are recommended by the Home Office.

Useful Forms

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