Cost of Living Support
Scams generally prey on people who are vulnerable, short of time and under pressure. The cost of living crisis has only served to provide further opportunities for scammers to adapt their tactics and exploit unsuspecting residents.
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Last year Citizens advice reported over 40 million people targeted by scammers with the most common types of scams reported included:
- Deliveries, postal or courier services (55%)
- Someone pretending to be from the government or HMRC (41%)
- Someone offering a fake investment or financial ‘get rich quick’ schemes (29%)
- Rebates and refunds (28%)
- Banking (27%)
- Online shopping (24%)
- Health or medical (13%)
- Energy scams (12%)
Spot a scam? Check it out.
There are a few things to look out for to spot any scam:
- A deal that looks too good to be true.
- You’re asked to give away personal information such as passwords or PINs.
- You’re being pressured to transfer money quickly.
- You’re been asked to pay in an unusual way.
- You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company.
Citizens Advice has an online tool to check for scams.
The Money Saving Expert has a recent guide of 30 ways to stop scams, including 30+ tips on how to spot, avoid and protect yourself against scams.
With households struggling financially, many may turn to loans to make ends meet. In these circumstances, it is always worth looking at your other options first and Money Saving Expert has a thorough guide to debt problems and where to get help.
A money lender must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to lend money legally. Money lenders who aren’t authorised by the FCA are breaking the law. They are known as loan sharks.
DO NOT USE LOAN SHARKS. THEY ARE ILLEGAL.
If someone who has lent you money threatens you or is violent, contact the police straight away.
You can find out whether a money lender is authorised by checking the register on the FCA website at www.fca.org.uk.
Follow this link for advice on loan sharks: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/borrowing-money/types-of-borrowing/loans/loan-sharks/
Loan fee fraud
This fraud is when customers are pressured into paying an upfront fee when searching for a loan…but then never receive the loan. This fraud is expected to spread as the cost-of-living crisis rises. Victims are often asked to make the payment through methods such as using a voucher.
This scam affects those aged 25 to 45 the most and those that are under financial pressure, or have limited borrowing options left.
It could be a scam if you are:
- asked to pay an upfront cost
- pressured to pay quickly
- asked to pay in an unusual way, such as vouchers or money transfer.
Watch out for 7 signs of job scams - Job scams are usually aimed at making people share their identity and security details and/or asking for money to access a job application or opportunity.
Too good to be true opportunities, emails and text messages about jobs you haven’t applied for, and requests for money to do DBS or reference checks are major red flags.
Three key guidelines are:
- Do not give personal security information
- Do not give personal financial information
- You should not have to pay for access to job opportunities
- You can also find guidance and report a scam or suspected scam at JobsAware.
The Energy Saving Trust has a section dedicated to ‘How to Spot and Energy Scam’.
Many of us have received scam messages by text or email claiming to be from HMRC stating you are due a tax rebate. These are scams.
It is always sensible to separately log into your HMRC account or call them on the numbers given on written letters or on their website.
For more information HMRC has advice on its website.