Consumer expert Which has revealed the most common scams reported by people in Hampshire - and some helpful tips to stop you falling foul of them.
Online shopping, computer fixing and credit card fraud were among the most popular scams for criminals.
Tips on how to avoid scams
Computer fixing fraud
Scammers pretend to be from well known companies such as Microsoft or BT, and claim to have identified a problem with your computer.
The victim pays for the scammer to fix a non-existent problem, or in some cases has harmful malware installed on their machine.
- Don’t allow someone you don’t know to remotely access your computer.
- If someone requests personal information or payment, hang up the phone.
- If you think a company genuinely needs to contact you, ring it – but don’t use the number that the potential fraudster gave you.
Regular payment fraud
This tends to hit wealthier consumers and businesses. Victims receive an email or letter purporting to be from a company that they regularly pay for services, such as an energy or phone company.
In fact, it’s from a fraudster wanting to ‘update’ bank details for the regular payment.
- Tell your bank immediately if you notice any unusual activity on your bank statements.
- Don’t leave bills lying around where others can see them.
- Check all changes in financial arrangements with any company directly using the contacts you’d normally use.
Fraud against shops
Although this directly affects retailers, it can impact consumers; many shops now have access to large amounts of customer data that could end up in the hands of fraudsters.
- Check that the sites you use for online shopping are encrypted – look for the padlock symbol and the prefix ‘https’ in the address bar.
- Be cautious when sharing personal data with shops – do you really need to sign up to every mailing list?
For more information go to the Which? website.