Please Note: This Article is 4 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

The Metropolitan Police Service has produced a guide on how to avoid some of the most common scams.

We are all vulnerable to scams these days, both in business and in our private lives, so we have reached a stage where extreme caution is needed when dealing with anyone or any organisation we don’t know.

Websites, emails and telephone calls can all clone reputable sources and fool us into thinking we are dealing with a genuine person or organisation.  Emails in particular must be treated with caution – open a suspect one and you could be allowing a virus on to your computer which will give direct access for a criminal. The number of scams and clever schemes seems endless, so beware.

‘The Little Book of Big Scams’ is a comprehensive guide on fraud prevention, explaining some of the most common scams in existence, ranging from the simple to the sophisticated, providing essential advice to reduce the chances of you being parted from your money.

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This booklet is primarily aimed at the elderly and vulnerable in society as they are particularly at risk; but anyone who reads it will benefit. People from all backgrounds and income levels are targeted by scammers – anyone can fall victim to fraud.

The guide was launched by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) alongside Esther Rantzen and Gary Fitzgerald, (CEO of Action on Elder Abuse).

MPS Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe said:”My officers have seen the devastating effects scams can have on people and their families. This comprehensive guide will go a long way in helping to reduce the number of victims of fraud and will undoubtedly make it harder for the scammers of this world to succeed. There are a number of people out there intent on conning people out of their hard earned money, so I urge people to take caution when confronted with what appears to be a deal of a lifetime, remember if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

The most vulnerable are targeted

Journalist and TV presenter, Esther Rantzen said: “During my 40 years’ career in consumer protection, I discovered that conmen and women are so ruthless they simply see honest people as “walking wallets”, to be squeezed, emptied and discarded. Fraud can happen on your doorstep, by post, over the phone or via the internet. Sadly, new technology has provided scammers with even more ways of swindling trusting consumers. Thank goodness, and thanks to the police, we now have The Little Book of Big Scams to be our guardian and our guide.”

Gary Fitzgerald, CEO of Action on Elder Abuse said: “Scammers deliberately target the most vulnerable people in our society, preying on their honesty and trust, and deceiving them in the most cruel and devastating manner. But with some simple planning, outlined in this new booklet, it is possible to prevent these thieves from being successful and we therefore commend the work of the Metropolitan Police in producing it on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Working together we can end elder abuse.”

The guide has been produced by the Specialist and Economic Crime Directorate of the Metropolitan Police Service, and is jointly funded by the National Fraud Authority and the MPS Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate.

To report a fraud, call 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool

Read the Guide Here

Please Note: This Article is 4 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.
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