How to spot a scam

May 23, 2016 11:00 am

Have you ever been given an offer that sounds too good to be true? Chances are if you haven’t someone you know has. It may not necessarily be a special offer – it may be someone pretending to represent your bank or a computer company which is why it is vital to know how to spot a scam.

Did you ask for it?

If you suddenly receive a letter saying you have won a competition you didn’t enter or a company is asking for details they would not normally ask for (for example your bank asking for your PIN number) then the likelihood is it is a scam.

What is their tone?

Scammers often target perceived vulnerable people such as people over the age of 60. They may say that in order to claim a cash prize they need to pay an amount upfront and must do so straight away. More worryingly, some scammers may say that they must not talk to friends or family or pressure them into keeping their “prize” or “offer” a secret.

Examples of scams

  • When placing an advert to sell a car a company may offer to sell it for you, promising a refund on an upfront fee if the buyer is found. This scam is known as car matching and will result in you losing this “fee”.
  • If you use a pre-paid electricity meter do not trust people who say they can cut the price as this is often a trick to create cloned keys (you end up paying both the fraudsters and the energy company!)
  • Be wary when paying for subscriptions online – if it is not a reputable company you could end up paying regularly for shoddy goods or may not even receive anything at all. Furthermore, you may find it difficult to cancel a subscription once you have done so.
  • Be wary of pyramid schemes – aside from not working these are also illegal. Essentially the theory is a certain amount of people invest money and then are encouraged to get a number more to invest. The reason it’s called a pyramid is because inevitably the scammer is the one that comes out on top!
  • Another variation on the pyramid scheme is work from home schemes. The genuine ones will not ask for payments upfront and will only ask you to pay for what you need or the products – always check reviews or ask for feedback before working with any of these companies.
  • Check websites carefully- some companies use fake or copycat websites in order to scam people out of money. Check before buying and ideally pay using a credit card as you can cancel any payments and get your money back.

Here to help

At Larcomes we believe in helping people – if you have been scammed by an individual or a company we can help you. We provide both the legal specialists needed to help represent you while at the same time providing the personal service you need during a difficult time. Contact us today and we will be happy to discuss your case in more detail


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