Personal Finance Scams to Look Out For
When you’re struggling with money, living hand to mouth and finding it difficult to pay your bills, any chance of extra money is welcome. We already advise against taking out payday loans or extra credit but what if the money that’s offered is yours to keep?
There are many scams around right now playing on people’s vulnerabilities and financial situations. The general rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here’s what to look out for and how to tell if it’s a scam or not.
You’re Entitled to a Tax Refund
There are ways you can claim tax back on tools, your work uniform, your mileage and more but these do involve you submitting a form to a tax rebate services company and giving your permission for them to check your previous tax records. No one, not even the HMRC, can tell you the exact refund amount you’re entitled to without some work from yourself, the service mentioned above or your accountant.
Therefore, a text telling you that “HMRC have tax refund of £261 waiting for you” are scams. They use a believable amount, not too much (like the Nigerian Prince offering £1million) to make it sound legitimate. In reality they lead you to a place where you share your details and they either empty your bank, claim a tax refund on your behalf (and keep the money) or steal your identity. Do not be fooled.
How to tell it’s a scam: If it’s a text, look at the number sending it. Don’t reply, don’t answer. You can also call the HMRC to ask if they’ve sent you the text however the HMRC are more likely to send a letter or an email to your registered address. Everyone also has a tax account online now, where you can check any notifications from the HMRC.
If it’s an email, check the sender email address, this should show you that it hasn’t been generated from the HMRC website. Don’t click on any links.
National Insurance Number Scam
The Daily Express reported that many people are falling foul of the National insurance Scam. This one’s a little different as they contact via your phone. Either your landline or your mobile.
The trick is they scare you by saying your national insurance number has been compromised, then ask you to press a button to be put through to someone who can help. You’re then charged a premium rate for the call, while they collect your information.
How to Tell it’s a Scam: No one will ring then ask you to press a button for the next stage. If you’re unsure, put the phone down and look the number up. A quick Google will tell you if it’s a scam or not.
DPD or UPS Delivery Scam
There’s a scam where you receive a text or an email to tell you that a parcel is waiting but needs your attention. You’re urged to click a link and to share personal information.
How to tell if it’s a scam: Look at where the email came from. It’s usually a garbled email address. Also check your orders on Amazon, eBay and online, there will usually be detailed tracking information. DHL occasionally charge duty tax if you’ve ordered from overseas, but they will have details of your parcel and who it’s been sent from. These scammers don’t.
We will keep you up to date on all personal finance scams to ensure you stay protected and don’t fall foul of these. If you are struggling with money and find these scams attractive, contact us, we may be able to help.