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Scams are schemes to con you out of your money.

They usually come by post, phone or email.  There are hundreds of scams - fake lotteries and prize draws, bogus psychic predictions, get-rich-quick investments and 'miracle' health cures are just some of the many tricks that scammers try. The tactics that these conmen use are so powerful that it can be difficult to say no.

Every year, three million people fall victim, losing an average of £850 each, and sometimes a great deal more. And it's not just your money that's at risk. Being taken in by a scam can be very distressing.

The scammers are clever, and all kinds of people from all walks of life get duped. If you let down your guard, you too could become a victim.  There's a scam for everyone - no matter how alert or clued up you think you are. 

Warning signs

  • It sounds too good to be true: Beware of hype and extravagant promises. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • You are contacted out of the blue: You may get a phone call, email or letter from someone you've never heard of.
  • You have to make a quick decision: Scammers don't like to give you time to think. They will try to pressure you into making a decision by saying things like 'If you don't act now, you'll miss out.'
  • You have to give away bank account details: Trustworthy firms will never contact you to ask for this information.

If you see any of these signs in a letter, phone call, text message or email, it could well be a scam.

Spotted a scam?

If in doubt don't reply.  Instead, bin it, delete it, or hang up.  You can also report the scam or get advice if you think you've been scammed from the Citizens Advice website.

Scamwise guide

Independent Age has produced a Scamwise guide to help people spot, avoid and report scams.  Click here to download the guide.

Free scam call blocker for people with dementia

Fed up of nuisance calls? Living with dementia? You can apply for a free call blocker at

Little book of big scams

The Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard have produced a 'Little book of big scams' to help people identify and report scams and fraud.  Click here to download the booklet.

Friends Against Scams

Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team initiative to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to "Take a stand against scams".  Anybody can join Friends Against Scams and make a difference in their own way.  It has been created to tackle the lack of awareness of rip-offs and to change the perception of scam victims.

People who are scammed often experience, loneliness, shame and social isolation. The Friends Against Scams initiative is designed to give power to communities and organisations by providing information about scams and those who fall victim to them.

This information helps communities and organisations to understand and talk about scams and turn that knowledge into action by taking a stand and spreading the prevent and protect messages throughout communities.

For more information go to:

Friends against scams website 

Friends against scams Facebook 

Friends against scams Twitter 

If you think you've spotted a scam make sure you report it!