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Scams in the UK – Protecting Yourself

15th April 2010
By kIM in Internet Law
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Scams come in different variants designed to draw us using a specific trigger such as advertising a hard to obtain item, a bargain price good or the opportunity to earn extra money. Fraudsters often pretend to be e-mailing from big brands and use the company logos to add authenticity.

The impact of scams in the UK has been to such an extent that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue. According to the research it carried out 73% of adults have received an email in this past year with 1 in 15 people falling victim to a scam which could have come on the form of an e-mail, phone call, text or unwanted post.

Many people read about scams and think that they would never fall victim to one however apparently around 4m people have responded to a scam. The difficulty is while some fraud schemes are clearly fraudulent, the Nigerian money transfer scheme is one such example however people do still fall fowl of it but in decreasing numbers due to the awareness raised.

It's great to hear the OFT is responding to this growing problem however to protect yourself it is wise to go through the following checklist to minimise your chance of becoming a victim.

If it is an e-mail, hit reply to see what address comes up; often a fraudster will show a different from address to the real address but by trying to reply you will see a fraudulent address. Careful read the URL of the link as fraudsters will often register domains that only differ very slightly to the real address. Always type the address of a company you deal with direct into the address bar and avoid clicking on links. If it is a phone call we advise if they ask for sensitive information then state that you will call back, if they are legit then they won't have a problem or come up with excuses.

Finally take time to consider the idea or promotion, if it sounds too good to be true then exactly as the old saying goes, it probably is. If you operate a business online it is worth educating your employees on the latest fraud techniques to protect your business. Marcus evans scam conferences are regularly run which do just that.
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