If you encounter one or more of the following, you could be looking at a scam. Stop and check if what you've come across is genuine:
- A person or a message urging you to act quickly, whether it's a threat to make an urgent payment or news of a limited opportunity too good to miss.
- Communication asking you to update or provide your personal details, such as identifying information, banking details or passwords, or asking to remotely access your device.
- An email or text message from an unfamiliar number or contact (or even one that appears to be from an organisation you trust or have had dealings with) that asks you to click on any type of link.
- Any request for payment via unsecure or unusual methods such as cryptocurrency, gift cards or bank transfer.
- A suspicious message from someone you know, in which they claim they have new contact details or ask for payment to a new bank account.
- Anyone offering unsolicited financial or investment advice, or claiming you can make fast or guaranteed money with little to no risk.
- A seller you've already paid continuing to ask for extra money due to "unforeseen circumstances". This is especially common in pet scams.
- Websites that appear similar to a legitimate store, but have unusual URLs, very large discounts, missing information and poor spelling and formatting.
But it shouldn’t be all down to you to stop these scammers – businesses should be looking out for these red flags too, and acting fast to stop them hurting people. The only way we can stop the growing harm caused by scams is by requiring businesses to work closely with the government to identify and intercept scams in real time.