- Pay attention to warning signs – if you get texts asking you to call or emails out of the blue asking if you want a loan then pay careful attention as it could be a scam trying to lure you to a fraudulent website. Spelling and grammar mistakes in letters and emails always sound a warning bell, but some fraudsters are getting cleverer, so a fake may be perfectly spelled. Also, any lenders that don't carry out credit checks are best avoided too as they are not likely to be legitimate.
- Check, check and check again – Check credentials, call the lender with an authenticated number to verify phone numbers and read customer reviews. Lenders and brokerage firms also need to be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and they should show their registration number on their website or paperwork, check this number against the FCA's financial register.
- Scammers are smart, so be smarter – Fraudsters are clever and it's how they make money. Some will even use the name or address of genuine companies, send you phishing emails or set up fake web pages. If there's any doubt in your mind, check addresses and if you're on the phone, hang up and call the main telephone number of the company in question and find web addresses for yourself.
- Be wary of disclosing details – If you're not expecting to part with your details, then don't. Banks will not ask you for confidential details or security information such as your account numbers, password or PIN on the phone or via email.
If you've got elderly relatives it's probably worth discussing possible fraud with them and warning them, as older people can be specially targeted by scammers.
For more advice on preventing fraud see Financial Fraud Action UK and Action Fraud .