Getting online can make life easier in many ways, but also comes with the risk of scams and fraud. Online scams are becoming increasingly common, but you can protect yourself by knowing what to look out for, and what to do if you suspect a scam.


What are online scams?

Online scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and many people are caught out, even those who are regular internet users. Every year in the UK, millions of people lose money to scammers or unknowingly share their personal information.But there are ways to avoid being taken in by scams if you know what to look for. We explain some common online scams below.


Email scams

Scammers send bogus emails in the hope that people will enter their personal or financial details. They may direct you to a fake website, trick you into thinking you’ve won a lottery or prize.If you see a suspicious email, don’t reply with your details or open any links or documents. Delete the email straight away. If the email claims to be from an organisation, phone them directly using the phone number found on their official website and ask them.


Fake websites

Scammers create fake websites which look official, requesting you to provide personal or financial information. For example, a fake bank website may be set up asking you to update your account or security information. Often, they will look very similar and only a few details may be different.Visit your bank’s website by typing their offical web address in your internet brower – you can find this on letters from the bank. If you aren’t sure about which website to use for a government service, go through GOV.UK, the Government’s official website, to find what you need.


Health scams

False and misleading claims may be made about medical-related products, such as miracle health cures, and fake online pharmacies may offer medicines cheaply.

However, the actual medicine delivered to you can turn out to be poor quality and even harmful to your health.


What should I do if I think I’ve been a victim of an online scam?

Contact Action Fraud


Contact the police, then Action Fraud if you’re worried something might be a scam or you think you’ve been scammed. The information you give to Action Fraud can help track down the scammer

For more information on how to stay safe online, checkout for some great top tips.