Media Alert: Be Scam Aware

Wednesday 1 July 2015

As savvy consumers we all enjoy the benefits of being able to shop online and make payments quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately scammers are becoming increasingly clever in the way that they target us.

But there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you are better protected. Here are five top tips from Nick Hill, Money Expert at the Money Advice Service around protecting yourself from scams:

Keep your cards and PIN safe and secure – Don’t let your card out of your sight when you’re paying and always shield your PIN whenever you enter it – both at a cashpoint and whenever you use your card for a purchase. Make sure your cards and PIN are safe – try to avoid writing your PIN down, but if you have to, make sure you don’t keep the note and your card together.

Be a sensible online shopper – If you are shopping on a new or unfamiliar website, check the details of the company you are buying from online - if the only contact details are a mobile number and a PO Box rather than a full address you should be wary. A useful sign that a website is secure is a padlock symbol which will show in the browser bar.

Stay alert and be suspicious – Don’t be afraid to ask people you don’t know for ID if they approach you or knock on your door. And think twice if you randomly get told you have won a prize in a competition you haven’t entered, or you’re being pressured to decide on buying something quickly. Being cautious and double checking before handing over any money or personal details may save you from a financial scam. You can check whether a company is genuine on the Companies House website.

Keep your details safe – Shred any personal documents and receipts you’re getting rid of before binning them. You can pick up a cross-shredder for less than £20 – these are more secure than the ‘strip-cut’ variety.

Make sure your computer and phone are protected – Keep your security software and firewall up-to-date to find viruses and spyware. You can download security patches from your operating system’s manufacturer. The same rules apply to your mobile, especially if you use it to do your online banking. Make sure you download the correct app from your bank, install an anti-virus app and always keep your phone updated with the latest operating system.

We have a wealth of tips and advice at the Money Advice Service around protecting yourself from scams. You can visit the website to find out the following:

ENDS

Notes:

About the Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. It gives free, unbiased money advice online at moneyadviceservice.org.uk, over the phone on 0300 500 5000, and face-to-face right across the UK. The Service was set up by Government and is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority. Its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system); and to enhance the ability of members of the public to manage their own financial affairs.

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