Advice Column: Scams

Thursday 10th June

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo advice column this week we focus on the national Scams Awareness campaign.


I’ve had a letter offering me the opportunity to invest in fine wine. The returns look really good and I’m tempted, but my friend says not to trust a letter in case it’s a scam. How can I tell if it’s genuine?


The national Scams Awareness campaign, which runs during June, is highlighting the need to be scam aware. While there are lots of legitimate investments out there, your friend is right to warn you. Letters and cold-calls from unknown companies can be a scam. Investment opportunities can ask for large sums and you need to be completely confident before you put your money in.


First, do your research on the company. Investigate their website thoroughly and pay attention to where the company is registered. If it’s outside the UK, be on your guard – if it is a con, it will be difficult to get your money back. You could also look for industry bodies that oversee the sector to assist you with investment advice.


Next, check if the offer is realistic. Do some comparisons among similar companies for what the usual return is. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.


Finally, look out for high-pressure sales tactics. The literature may ask you to contact them by phone. If a salesperson puts pressure on you to complete the deal straight away, or tells you not to tell anyone about it, it could be a scam.


This Scams Awareness month we are asking consumers to consider our checklist:


  1. You don’t’ recognise the individual or organisation If you do recognise them, have they contacted you in the normal way?
  2. You can’t confirm their identity If they say they’re calling from a trusted source such as a bank, contact your bank directly to confirm their identity
  3. You’ve been asked to hand over money or personal information Don’t give out PINs, passwords or seemingly random information. Never send money to someone you don’t know
  4. It seems too good to be true ‘Get rich quick’ often means ‘lose money fast’
  5. You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way Such as crypto currency or online vouchers


For advice or to report a potential scam, get in touch with the Citizens Advice Scams Action helpline by calling 0808 250 5050.


Look out for our column next week when we focus on repairs for those renting in the private rented sector.


The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit