Citizens Advice: Don’t fall victim to fraud and scams

Beware of fakes and scammersBeware of fakes and scammers
Beware of fakes and scammers
Scammers’ tactics become more sophisticated every year, making scams tricky to recognise, but there are things you can look out for.

By Kirklees Citizens Advice & Law Centre chief executive Nick Whittingham

Last year I fell for a scam when I was doing my Christmas shopping. The scam was clever. I thought I was getting a good deal but didn’t realise I was being scammed until it was too late. How can I avoid the same thing happening again this year?

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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For example, tickets to an event that are much cheaper than they’re being sold elsewhere, or a holiday that’s a lot less than you’d expect to pay.

Be wary of people contacting you out of the blue on social media sites or via text and email offering an item for sale or deal on something.

It’s a good idea to do some research into where you’re buying from.

If you’re buying from a website you haven’t used before, spend a few minutes researching it.

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A good place to start is finding a website’s terms and conditions.

You could also look up the company’s address, this can normally be found in the website’s ‘contact us’ section and should have a street name, not just a post office box.

If it’s a registered UK company, you can check its details on the Companies House website.

Check to see what people have said about the company, and it’s worth looking at different review websites to see other people’s feedback – don’t rely on reviews the company has put on its own website.

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Scammers will often ask you to pay in an unusual way, or very quickly.

For example, you’re asked to send money through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union or pay via vouchers.

Remember never give away your personal information like a password or PIN and never click on or download anything you don’t trust.

To find out about scams across the country, you can sign up to the Trading Standards email alert on their website.

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If you’ve been scammed, there are organisations you should report the scam to.

If you’ve transferred money in the last 24 hours, speak to your bank and the police.

You should also contact the police if the scammer is in your area, or you feel unsafe.

You can also report the scam to Citizens Advice and Action Fraud.

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Don’t feel embarrassed about reporting a scam – scammers are clever, and it can happen to anyone.

Reporting a scam helps track down and stop scammers, helping to prevent it from happening to others too.

If you would like to speak to Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre, you can call us on 0808 278 7896 (Freephone), where we help thousands of people each year.

You may be coming to us for the first time, but we can help with issues such as housing, employment, asylum, debt, benefits, energy and more.

See our website at for more self-help information and our web enquiry form.