Keeping adults safe

"I’d like to know how I can stay safe."

Protecting yourself from scams

Some criminals use emails, texts or the telephone to contact you with the aim of getting you to reveal your personal or financial details.

Take a few minutes to consider any requests to provide personal or financial information. It is easy to get caught off guard when you are busy or have your mind on something else.

Email scams

Here’s how to look out for fake emails:

Check the spelling or grammar. There are often a lot of errors in fake emails.
Look at the sender’s email address to see if it matches the website address of the organisation it says it is from.
Be wary of emails telling you that you have inherited or won money - they often use this as a way to get you to send them your bank details.
Make sure you do not open any attachments in suspect emails. They could contain a computer virus that reads your personal details, or affects your computer so it doesn’t work properly.

Text scams

Here’s what to do if you get a text from someone you do not recognise:

Make sure you don’t reply to the text or call the number. Many scammers don’t actually know the numbers are active so this could result in more calls and messages to your phone.
Search the web for the phone number or message. This will help you confirm if it is spam as others who have received it are likely to have reported it online.
If the text is from a company you have an account with, such as your bank, look up their number on a recent bill or their website and call them directly to check if it is them who called or messaged.
Ignore any links in the message. If you select the link, you could download a virus to your phone that monitors and records your key strokes to collect your personal information. Otherwise the link could ask you to make a payment and/or give bank details.
Delete the message and block the number on your phone once you have confirmation it is fake. This will stop them contacting you again from that number.

Phone scams

Here’s how to recognise a scammer on the phone. The scammer may:

  • make it sound like an emergency, and tell you that you have to act now
  • try to stop you talking to a family member or friend to confirm what they are asking you to do
  • ask you to give them your 4 digit card PIN or online banking password
  • advise you to transfer money to another account for fraud reasons
  • say that you are a victim of fraud and offer to send a courier to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or a cheque
  • sound like a robot and speak random sentences.

Tips to avoid fraudster calls

Make sure your phone has caller display enabled if it is available.
If you don’t recognise the number calling you, don’t pick up.
Do a web search to check the number that has called you. In many cases you’ll find you’re not the first person to be contacted and others will have posted a message online to say it is a scam.