People have been falling for scams just as long as scams have been around. Some people are naturally more skeptical, and are able to see through scams for what they are in a heartbeat. Other people have a harder time seeing a scam for what it is.
People who are less skeptical, more trusting, or simply inexperienced may find themselves falling prey to scams more often. It really helps to know what the scams out there are so that you can protect yourself against them.
There are some scams that have been around since the dawn of time, while others have become more popular due to technological advances. Here are some of the most common scams to keep an eye out for.
1. Fake Green Deal Sales
Door to door scams have been around for years. A fake Green Deal sale scam happens when you answer your door to someone telling you that you’re eligible for a large sum of funding for Green Deal home improvements.
You might be entitled to something like $10,000 funding for Green Deal improvements, for anything from new insulation or a new boiler. Unfortunately, the only way to get this is to pay an administration fee - but you won’t see any of those new home improvements and the person will disappear with your admin fee.
2. Damp Proofing
Someone may come around to your house and offer you a free damp-proofing survey. No matter what type of condition that your house in, these people will always find damps that need proofing immediately.
You’ll probably be told that your home needs urgent attention, and the quote that you’ll get will always be outrageous, and you may be encouraged to pay a deposit. Once more, your money will disappear and so will the surveyors.
3. Home Maintenance Scams
Someone may offer you cheap quotes for home maintenance repairs, such as fixing your patio or paving your driveway. They may even find dangerous things on your roof that need immediate and urgent repair.
These people will always demand upfront cash down payments to either start or finish the job. Usually, they’ll leave with your money and poor work, or no work at all.
4. Food Sales
A door to door scam that involves being sold frozen foods, like fish or other meats. Someone offers to sell you these items incredibly cheap, but only if you’re willing to drop a large amount of money to buy them in bulk.
Usually the food is damaged, soiled or spoiled in some way, putting you out of both money and food. It’s probably best not to buy any food sold door to door.
5. Fake Energy Saving Devices
This scam involves someone trying to sell you a device that you plug into your outlet that’s supposed to save you 40% in your energy. Unfortunately, the person will only sell it at the “sale price” of something close to $99.
The device itself is a sham, just some useless piece of junk that plugs into your outlet and won’t save you anything on your energy or electric usage.
6. Fake Relationship
These kind of scammers are also known as catfishers. They’ll use fake photos of extremely gorgeous people, men or women, and set up fake profiles on a dating website.
This is kind of a long con, because they will pursue an entirely fake and one sided relationship. After a certain amount of time, they’ll ask the person that they’re scamming for money for emergency bills, like a hospital bill.
7. Council Tax Refund
This type of scam involves someone giving you a call about overpaying on your council tax. You’ll be told that you’ve been overpaying because your property is located in the wrong tax band.
Then, you’ll be encouraged to hand over your bank information so you can be refunded. Unfortunately, no refund is coming and the scammers now have access to all of your money.
8. Council Tax Discount
Another council tax scam, but this one involves just handing over one lump sum of money rather than your bank details. A phone call will tell you that you’re eligible for council tax discount if you start paying direct debit. Unfortunately, you first have to pay an administration fee - and there goes your money and your discount.
9. Fake Job Websites
If you’ve ever uploaded your resume to a job search website, you may want to double check where you’re uploading your information too. Some job search websites will take your information and use it to contact you about a fake job. They’re ready to offer it to you, as long as you pay a fee.
10. Fake Paycheck
If you’re job searching, scammers may use this to their advantage. You’ll be offered an advanced check for a job offer. When you cash it, you’ll be immediately told that you’ve been overpaid and you need to return the money through an online transfer.
You may notice that this has to be done before the fake check bounces. Don’t accept any paychecks from a job that you haven’t interviewed for- even if you think you need the money.
11. Fake Job Training Course
You may find that you’re offered a job, but before you can start work you’ll need to take a training course. The scam will involve you having to pay for the training course instead of the other way around.
After the money has been taken, the course will disappear and so will the job. It’s pretty standard not to trust anyone that is trying to make you pay to get a job. After all, the point of a job is that they pay you!
12. Prize Scam
If you’re not one to play the lottery, you’ll want to be suspicious of any phone call or email that you get insisting that you’ve won a prize of some kind.
Usually, in order to get your money or prizes you’ll be made to pay a processing fee. Of course, there’s no prizes on the other end of that fee. The scammers will take your money and disappear, and so will your prizes.
13. Bad Investments
As a general rule, anyone you don’t know who is calling you in an attempt to get your money is not to be trusted. Some of these phone call scams include someone calling you and telling you that if you invest a certain amount of money you’ll be made rich.
The investment can go into stocks, shares, or anything like fine wine or a start up company. Be wary, because these are almost always scams and aren’t going to make you rich.
14. Fake Loans
Some scammers try to take advantage of people who are really in need of money by concocting fake loan schemes. In this scam, you’ll be called or emailed by a scammer who want you to apply for a guaranteed loan.
Not only will they want you to hand over your bank details, but they’ll also want you to pay an administration fee. It’s best to leave all loan discussion for the bankers.
15. Pension Scams
Some scammers have decided to go the route that most people are afraid of most: pension problems. A scammer will give you a call purporting to be from your pension provider, and tell you that there's either something wrong, or that you’re entitled to more money.
The phone all will involve giving out your personal information, or paying an administration or processing fee in order to correct what’s not really wrong.
16. PPI Refund Scam
This type of scam involves a phone call from a PPI company or the someone pretending to be from your bank. They’ll say that you’re entitled to a PPI refund, but of course it’s never that easy.
The scammer will definitely need you to pay a processing or administrative fee before they’ll able to give you your refund. Of course, that refund doesn’t exist.
17. Tax Back Fraud
The scam involves giving your personal details over email. As a general rule, this isn’t a safe thing to do and you should avoid it at all costs.
A tax back fraud scam will involve someone claiming to be from HMRC telling you that you’re entitled to a huge tax refund. Of course, you’ll then have to confirm your personal details over email, which means your identity is now at risk of being stolen.
18. Fake Online Sales
If you’re self conscious of your weight or skin, online scammers will definitely try to take advantage of that. Since online adverts rarely need any kind of vetting, you really have no clue who is advertising to you.
If you see an advertisement for skin lotion or weight loss tablets, make sure that they really exist. You maybe he unwittingly signing up for monthly payments that you have no way of canceling.
19. Work Rebate
Someone may call you claiming that a place that you once worked has now been condemned as unsafe to work due to noise, chemicals or some other unsafe reason.
The scammer will claim to be from the government and tell you that you’re entitled to compensation. Of course, if you want to find out any more information, you’ll be required to pay some kind of fee - only to find out that no, you don’t actually qualify.
20. Missed Payment Scams
Scammers have become very crafty with their ability to get money out of people. One tactic is playing fake council tax bill into someone’s letter slot. The bill will say that you’re missing payments and need to pay them immediately.
Most likely, you’ll be instructed to call a phone number so that your bank information can be taken down by the scammer. Be aware of bills that require you to only pay over the phone.
21. Telephone Debt Scam
This particular scam involves the scammer to call and insist that you’ve defaulted or owe money on an expensive telephone preference services, one that you may not even remember signing up for.
They’ll insist that you need to pay over the phone immediately or you’ll face having your telephone service disconnected, or worse- court summons or arrests are also popular threats. Of course, pressing for more information won’t yield any to you.
22. Truant Fee
If you have a child in school, you may get a call from a scammer claiming to be from the Education Welfare Services. They’ll claim that your child wasn’t in school that you have to pay an immediate fee of several hundred pounds (or dollars, depending on where you live!).
Of course, the easier way to check this is to confirm it with your child’s school. Still, you may be pressure to pay it immediately by the scammer or he threatens with more penalties and fees.
23. Courier Scams
You may get a call from your bank that insists that your debit or credit card has been compromised and that fraudsters have been using it to make purchases.
You’ll be instructed to key in your pin number for confirmation, as well as hand over all of your personal information like your address and birthday and social security number - for safety.
Then, they tell you that a courier will arrive to take your bank card. Of course, you’ve unknowingly just handed over all of your information to scammers.
24. Holiday Hackers
Someone who has had their email address hacked may be unknowingly helping scammers get money from their friends and relatives. Usually around the holidays when people are prone to take vacations, you may receive an email from a relative or friend whose email address has been hacked.
They’ll say that they’re stranded on vacation and need money urgently. Of course, that isn’t the case. It’s important to double check with the person via phone or some other contact before you hand over any money via online transfer.
25. Virus Scam
Microsoft or any other computer company will not ever call you to tell you that you have a virus. If you do get a call like this, it’s always a scammer.
They’ll try to tell you that your computer has been compromised, and that you need to buy virus protection software immediately.
Of course, the only way they’ll take the payment is either over the phone or on some sketchy looking website that takes your credit card information.
26. Medical Emergency
You may receive a call telling you that a family member or friend has been in a car accident and that money needs to be send immediately to cover medical costs.
While this may seem scary enough to hand over your information right away, remember that a hospital's first priority will always be the safety of the person that they’re treating - bills will come later.
Remember to also double check and make sure that the person is really in danger before you hand over your information.
27. Trader Scam
You may receive a call from supposed police officers saying that your savings or the money in your account is in danger and that a secret account has been set up for you to transfer your money into.
Except, the police aren’t involved at all and the secret account is actually going right into the scammers pockets. They may even say that you shouldn’t tell the tellers at the bank otherwise you’ll damage their police investigation.
28. Online Prince
Many people may be getting emails from a supposed prince who is trying to gain access to thousands upon thousands of dollars. They will probably need you to wire them money for a processing fee in order for them to get their money. After that, they’ll tell you that you’ll get half of all of their riches. This is, of course, not even close to true.
29. Fake Virus Scam
Some scammers have set up a type of virus that only affects the browser you’re currently on. You may go to a page and find that a screen blows up and says that you’ve got a virus and the only way to get rid of it is to pay the people who made it. You’ll be encouraged to put your card details into the screen in order to get control of your computer back.
30. IRS Scam
For those who live in the states, an IRS scam has been going around for years. Someone pretending to be from the IRS will call and say that you’re being audited and owe money from your taxes.
They’ll insist that you make a payment immediately or else risk being thrown in jail. Of course, the IRS will never reach out to you by phone, so if they do- assume scammers.