Fraud and Scams

One organization that works hard to help us protect ourselves from fraud and scams is Barclays Bank "Digital Wings" online platform. It is particularly concerned with helping older people, and is recommended by the Third Age Trust.

Their Protect yourself against Scams page (at covers the main kinds of scam. These are listed below - click on each for more information and protection advice.

Impersonation scamsWhen someone pretends to be the police, a bank, a friend or business, to convince you to send them money. 

Investment scams: When you're invited to invest in things that are worthless, or don't exist.

Purchase scams: When fake or non-existent items are advertised for sale.

Advance fee scams: When fake companies ask for an upfront fee and then don’t provide the service you've paid for.

Invoice scamsWhen account details on an invoice are changed, or emails are intercepted, so the money is wrongly paid into the scammer's account.

Romance scams: When someone pretends to be interested in a romantic relationship with you. They gain your trust and then ask for money.

Pension scams: A scammer says they can make you money, and convinces you take a lump sum out of your pension and then steals it.

Doorstop scamsA rogue trader knocks on your door and pretends your house needs work and then overcharges you for it and often doesn't finish the job.

Bereavement scams: A scammer contacts you after someone has died, and says you owe money to pay off a debt or to access a payout. 

Phishing, smishing, and vishing: You receive an email, text message, or call claiming to be from a well-known company or organisation such as Microsoft, a bank or the police.

Some basic rules to protect yourself are

  • Be wary of any unexpected text messages, calls and emails you get.
  • Don't be fooled if a phone number or email address looks genuine – they can be faked. 
  • Be extra suspicious if you're asked to open a link or call a number.
  • If you need to call the company, find a genuine number from a trusted source – for a bank this could be their website, or the back of your card.
  • If you need to visit the company's website, don’t take it from a message or click on a link – always type in a web address you know is genuine by hand.
  • Never reveal personal information, your PIN, PINsentry codes, mobile activation codes, QR codes, or Online Banking passcodes.