Purchase scams happen when you’re paying for an item, or service. The item doesn't arrive, or the service doesn't happen and your money is lost.
Typically, these scams:
- ask you to send money via bank transfer rather than using normal ways to pay
- seem too good to be true (because they probably are)
- have 'limited availability', or are a 'special offer' to encourage you to act quickly
- are typically advertised on social media or other online marketplaces, or in some cases through legitimate looking websites that have actually been setup by fraudsters
- persuade you to send money before receiving goods
- use safe sites when shopping online
- use safe ways to pay, such as your debit or credit card
- check the returns and cancellations policy
- research the retailer online to make sure they’re legitimate
- stop and think - would you be willing to send cash in the post for an item you've ordered?
- research and check the validity of the item before agreeing to pay via other means
- If possible, ask to see the item before proceeding
- approach an independent professional to authenticate the goods or services you are purchasing
Criminals may contact you to offer investment opportunities which may seem too good to be true - offering guaranteed, or very high, returns.
They often cold call you, use false testimonials, fake celebrity endorsements, spoof websites and fake or cloned companies with similar names, or cloned names, to genuine investment organisations.
They can usually provide convincing marketing materials to make the scams appear genuine, or use current news and other media outlets to make the opportunity seem realistic
- conduct your research – if you’re entering into a cryptocurrency investment, make sure you understand the offer and how the investment works
- contact the company on an independently verified number or email address and confirm that the person you’re dealing with is a legitimate representative of their firm
- seek advice from a financial advisor
Criminals claim they can unlock pension funds by moving them from an existing scheme to a new one, allowing early access to benefits before the legal age.
Victims of these scams are usually asked to pay a very high fee and may also face serious tax consequences. Be wary of scams like this and, if in doubt, seek advice from registered pension providers.
Payment diversion Scams
Criminals can hack and monitor your emails, and when payments are due, they’ll send their own email that looks and feels like a genuine message from a company, or firm.
They tell you that the bank details for your payment have changed and give you the new details to send your payments to. This could be a house deposit to your solicitor, or a payment to a contractor for home improvements.
- check with the company you’re making a payment to, on a genuine phone number, before making a payment with new bank details
- check for poor spelling and grammar within the email – sometimes there can be errors which can be a strong indicator of a scam
- check the email address is correct
This type of fraud begins with a fast-moving, online relationship. Usually, a fake picture and profile are used.
To avoid meeting up in person, the fraudster may claim to be working overseas, for example, they may say they’re in the armed forces, or working for a voluntary service.
Scammers try to lower your suspicions by appealing to your compassionate or romantic side, and then ask for money. They’ll go to great lengths to build rapport and form a highly emotional bond.
To avoid falling victim to one of these scams, never send money to someone you’ve only met online. Don’t agree to accept money from them to send on their behalf, as this could be the proceeds of crime.