Top 10 Scams and How To Spot Them


An estimated £190bn a year is lost to fraud, with the elderly often the target of scams.

An investigation by price comparison experts Money Guru shows that 5 million people aged 65+ were targeted by scammers between 2015-2017. Sadly scammers take advantage of the older generation who often have hard-earned life savings and pensions at their disposal and may not be aware of their fraudulent tactics.

The True Cost of Fraud and Scams

But the scamming issue isn’t just impacting the over 65s. Money Guru’s research showed that 72% of Brits fell victim to a scam between 2015-2017 and that £500m was lost to scams in the first half of 2018.

However, only one in five people report fraud to the UK’s national fraud service or the police. Of those that do only 44% receive full reimbursement. The majority of losses reported are under £250 (62%).

Money Guru’s research reveals that:

  • 39% of Brits are being targeted by fraudsters due to oversharing on social media
  • 17-24-year-olds are most likely to fall victim to fraudsters selling fake car insurance
  • Between 2015-2017 22,000 victims reported a total of £21m unsolicited emails, phone calls from ‘tech support’ to fix non-existent computer issues and being asked for credit card information to ‘validate your copy of Windows’.

In an effort to get people up to speed with the financial issues these scammers can cause Money Guru have collated the top 10 scams and how to identify them.

Top 10 Scams

  1. Rogue Traders and bogus callers
  • Getting you to set up an account for a catalogue in your name and with your account details and delivery address, saying that they will pay you cash for whatever they order.
  • Carrying out unnecessary repairs or building works on your home or garden.
  • Trying to sell unnecessary products or services, which are of poor standard, or they are not properly qualified to provide.
  1. Scams by telephone, letter or email
  • Asking you to donate to a charity or cause, requiring that you share financial details.
  • Pretending to be a service provider to gain information about your account.
  • Pretending to be your bank to gain access to your account.
  1. Pensions
  • Offering unsolicited advice or pension reviews.
  • Trying to sell you false or dodgy investments, such as wine, shares or land investments.
  1. Money mules
  • Someone attempting to use your account to launder funds, promising a fee in return.
  • This type of scam involves you in illegal activity and the consequences can be very serious.
  1. Copycat websites
  • Charging a fee to renew or process official documents, such as a passport.
  • Selling items that aren’t really for sale.
  1. Tech support
  • Being told your computer has a virus and it can be fixed – for a fee.
  • Being tricked into downloading malware or clicking on ads or suspicious emails, which then infects your computer with a virus.
  • Bogus virus protection or warranties.
  1. Employment scams
  • Paying for training courses that don’t exist.
  • CV services or security checks with companies that are not legitimate.
  1. Auction sites
  • Buying goods that don’t exist through auction sites.
  • Asking you to pay via a bank transfer.
  1. Ticket scams
  • Selling a fake ticket that can’t be used and won’t be refunded.
  • Fraudsters often create their own websites that look very real.
  1. Phishing
  • You’ll receive a text or email from a malicious account asking you to log into your account – it could your eBay, your PayPal or your bank account which reveals your username and password to cybercriminals.
  • Emails look very real – as if they are from eBay, PayPal or your bank.
  • Can be any account for goods and services that you use.

How To Spot A Scam

  • Never freely give away any personal information, such as bank account details, computer passwords, your mother’s maiden name or PIN numbers. Legitimate companies will never ask for this via email or over the phone.
  • Never let anyone into your home if you do not know them.
  • Never give over your account details to sign up for anything over the phone, by email or to someone at the door.
  • Never download any attachments or files in emails or click on links from email accounts you don’t recognise.
  • Never ring any phone numbers in emails or letters you receive unless you are 100% sure they are official contact details for a reputable company.
  • Never directly transfer money to anyone but trusted close friends and family and make sure to keep tabs on these transactions.
  • If you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime you should immediately report it to Action Fraud. You can report any time of the day or night using their online tool and they also have advisors available on web chat 24 hours a day for help and advice. You can also call 0300 123 2040, Monday – Friday 8 am – 8 pm.