How to protect yourself from scams, from phishing to dating fraud

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Your account may be raided, a family member has been arrested, a lucrative investment is about to disappear, or you could face a fine. Each of these lines has been tried on a Telegraph reader.

In all of these scenarios, there will never be such a rush that you can’t hang up and call back.

4. If you are asked to do something, beware

If your bank calls you about emptying your account, why is it asking you to move the money rather than just do something? If the police really care about fraudsters in your bank, why are they asking you to move your savings rather than make arrests?

At some point in these scams, you will be asked to move your money, make a purchase, or give certain information that means criminals can, like full passwords and access codes.

5. Perform it in front of a friend

Another pair of ears will help decode if something is a scam. Could it really be that your niece or nephew has been arrested in the United States and the immediate bail needs to be sent electronically? Probably not.

Like many scams, this one looks silly on paper, but knowing the name of a younger relative and knowing they’re overseas – perhaps through a social media post – can mean that a particularly harsh-nosed con artist can drag you into bad decision-making. Like the other scams listed here, this worked on someone too.

Again, save time by hanging up and calling back to check.

6. Ask more questions than you are asked

Only do this if you feel confident; otherwise hang up.

Done well, it will save you some time to think for yourself, but you may also be able to confirm your suspicions about the person you’re talking to. Scammers will know the basics of the organization they are impersonating, but not everything.

Where do they work? Which town ? When did they join? Where did they work before? How big is the office? How many people work there? There will be a time when they can give up.


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