Types of scams
There are many types of scams and they can arrive in the mail, be emailed, telephoned or you may find yourself being scammed by people you meet.
To help you keep alert for scams information is available below on some of the more common scams we get reports of. Remember though these are just some of the scams that you may encounter. We have tips on how to help protect yourself from scams as well as the latest scam alerts given out by Swansea Trading Standards.
Lottery or prize draw scam
You're told that you've won a prize in a competition that you haven't even entered. Lotteries are often based overseas and you could be contacting someone who is pretending to be from a genuine lottery.
To claim the prize you have to pay an administration fee and send them personal documents such as a copy of your passport. You pay the fee and either get back nothing or get something worth less than the fee you've paid. With your personal details the scammers could even steal your identity.
Clairvoyant/ psychic scam
A scammer may contact you and say they have seen something wonderful or terrible in your future. They can only tell you what this is for a small administration fee.
You are contacted by a lawyer or other legal official who says someone with your surname has died leaving a large fortune. They are unable to trace any relatives so unless someone steps forward their money will all be passed to the government. They try to persuade you to make a claim for the money and to split it with the scammer. They will ask you to pay legal fees to obtain a non-existent inheritance. They may also ask for your bank account details and could steal money from your account.
Impersonation of officials or companies
You will receive a letter or email claiming to be an official from somewhere like the HMRC or a company such as PayPal. They will claim you are due a refund or demand payment of outstanding fees and costs.
Fraud recovery scam
You have previously been a victim of fraud and a scammer contacts you claiming to be able to recover money you have lost. They may pose as a legitimate company but will not be able to recover your money and may ask you for further fees.
You are asked to make a donation to a group of people or charitable cause. They may even be using the name of a well-known charity and be keeping the money themselves. If you are asked to donate via a website it may be fake and they can record your bank account details and use them to make purchases from your account. If you are asked to donate via phone it may be a premium rate number.
Genuine charities are registered with the Charities Commission and print their registration details on collection bags, tins and envelopes. You can call them on their helpline 0845 300 0218 or by visiting www.charity-commission.gov.uk where they have an online charity register.
Pensions have changed and scammers are now offering to convert pension benefits into cash before 55. You may be asked to pay administrative fees to do this. You could also be told incorrect information about the value of the return on an investment they make for you. You may also be liable for genuine payments of fees and taxes.
Computer or internet scams
A scammer claiming to be from a company such as Microsoft or Apple contacts you to say there is an issue with your computer. They will then ask you to download software to fix it. This could place a virus on your computer which corrupts all your data, they may have access to your files allowing them to see personal information. Scammers may also ask for fees to validate software you have on your computer.
If you have lost money to these or other scams you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime. You can report it online at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or phone 0300 123 2040.
Action Fraud lists an A-Z of fraud with over 150 different types of fraud and scam.
Remember just because it isn't featured here doesn't mean it's not a scam. If it seems too good to be true it probably is and you should not respond or follow up on these.