Jan 04

7 scary frauds you MUST protect yourself from

There are scary financial frauds happening all the time and the fraudsters are often very clever.

It’s likely that you have already been hit by one of these frauds but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen to you again.

According to The Embarrassing Fraud Clinic at Barclays (yes, that really is a thing!) more than one in four fraud victims haven’t told their partner what happened – because they were too ashamed. They also found a further one in 10 chose not to reveal anything about it because they were afraid they would be judged by friends and family.


Sadly, the poll suggests the average adult has been a victim of fraud TWICE, and has been targeted 11 times over the last 12 months.

This means during the course of our lifetime, we will endure 693 attempts to either steal our identity, or our money.

So you’re not the only one. Be very clear about that and the fact that it’s not your fault. Everyone is being done at some point. The fraudsters are clever – this is their job and what they do every day.

Now it’s up to us to get even cleverer and to be one step ahead of them all the time. We do this by getting knowledgeable about what they’re doing.

We are constantly monitoring new frauds at MoneyMagpie, and you can find out about the latest ones on our Rip-off Britain section, but we have loads of articles around the site to keep you up-to-date with the myriad ways people try to grab your cash.

Here are some of our most popular ones….


  1. Identity theft: how to stay safe online
  2. Bank fraud: how to protect yourself
  3. Financial fraud: people want to take big money off you
  4. Top 10 phone scams and how to avoid them
  5. Seasonal money scams on the internet
  6. Work from home scams and how to avoid them
  7. Western Union money transfer and the fraudsters who use it


1. Identity theft, how to stay safe online

Identity theif

It’s all too easy for fraudsters to take your identity and buy things in your name without you knowing a thing.

There’s a lot of information online about us now, which helps fraudsters no end. They can find out

  • our date of birth,
  • our address
  • and even our mother’s maiden name, without too much difficulty.

Don’t make it easy for them, though. There are ways to keep your details more secure and we show you how to do it in various articles on MoneyMagpie.

And if you want to check your credit record for FREE, do it here at CreditExpert now.

In fact, signing up to CreditExpert will help you keep a check on your ID and make sure that no one is grabbing it and taking money from you. Find out how here.


2. Bank Fraud, how to protect yourself

Gloved hand typing on laptop with stolen credit card propped against the screen

What do you do if the worst happens and someone has taken money out of your account or has taken your personal bank details?

  • It could be that they have phoned you up pretending to be your bank, saying that there has been fraudulent activity on your account and asking for your details.
  • Or they might have phoned you up pretending to be BT and getting into your computer that way, to find your personal and bank details
  • Or it could be that they have stolen your post and managed to get your bank details and passwords that way.

In this article we look at the various ways your bank account, and credit card accounts, can be compromised, and what you do to get your money back if someone has hacked into them.

Check out things your bank would never ask but fraudsters might here


3. Financial fraud – people want to take big money off you

credit cards

Even experienced investors can be scammed by clever fraudsters phoning up with apparently big investment ‘tips’.

In fact, these financial fraudsters tend to specifically target people who are experienced investors, who have some money in the bank and are looking for good returns on their money. These are usually intelligent, educated people who generally know what they’re doing but they can be susceptible to clever sales tactics on the phone.

We tell you all about the most common financial frauds around, including so-called ‘boiler-room scams’ which target investors and people with a bit of money put by.

Find out the secrets of boiler-room scammers and others here


4. Top 10 phone scams and how to avoid them

Worried elderly man making phone call

It’s not just online where the fraudsters like to prey on unsuspecting people.

There are lots of frauds perpetrated by phone, either to your landline or your mobile. In fact, these can be very lucrative to the fraudsters.

They often target older people at home on their landlines and they also target young people and students through their mobiles. They’re nasty and should be stopped!

Here are some that you could experience at any time, including the Microsoft scam, the BT scam and the Sky scam.


5. Seasonal money scams on the internet

Internet Url bar

Any time there’s a big event – whether it’s the World Cup or a Volcano eruption or a big festival coming up – there will be online scams either trying to sell you fake tickets or telling you you can get compensation for flight delays etc if you just ‘go to this website’.

These change depending on what has recently happened so it can be difficult to spot it as a scam.

Sometimes it just looks like a useful news-based email or website. You could think it’s about the event and then not realise that you h ave been conned.

It often happens after a disaster and scammers set up fake charity sites.

Also Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the January Sales are busy times for fraudsters who come up with fake sales sites, send out fake sales emails with false bargains and try to con people into thinking they are part of the genuine deals.

Here are the main seasonal cons and how you can spot the fakers.


6. Work from home scams and how to avoid them

Man working at home

It’s mean but lots of dodgy companies try to get lots of cash out of you by promising a make-money system that will net you thousands from home.

They usually want you to pay upfront and that’s how they steal from you.

They include ‘jobs’ like envelope-stuffing, calling from your phone to sell items and also doing house parties to sell particular products that you have to buy upfront first.

We have loads of genuine money-making opportunities at MoneyMagpie in our Make Money section so if you have found a money-maker that sounds fab and isn’t in our section tell us about it in the comments below.

Here is how to protect yourself from these scammers


7. Western Union money transfers and fraudsters

Weston Union Logo

Any time I see an ad on Gumtree or Craigslist or similar which says I’m to send money by wire transfer, by Western Union or similar I’m 99% sure it’s a con.

Western Union is a legitimate and useful way of sending money to friends or family in another country but because it’s hard to trace the cash, it’s also used by a lot of fraudsters around the world.

Now Western Union is warning consumers to be vigilant when shopping online because this is where scammers are poised to steal your hard-earned cash.

Common goods involved in scams are

  • event tickets,
  • motor vehicles
  • electronic goods,

but you should take care when buying anything online, particularly from independent sellers.

Peter Barnes, Senior Manager Global Investigations at Western Union says “scam artists often sound so convincing that victims don’t feel the need to check their credentials. It’s always best to deal with established companies when buying products online, so check that the company you’re buying from is who they claim to be”.

Basically, Western Union says you should never send a money transfer to someone you have not met in person.

“Money transfers are a great way to send money quickly and conveniently to friends and family,” said Massimiliano Alvisini, Regional Director UK, Ireland & Nordics at Western Union “However, they are not intended for use when doing business with someone you have not met in person.”

Be particularly careful with sites like eBay, eBid and the other auction sites. In auction site scams buyers are told the seller only accepts money transfers for payment.

The “seller” tells the buyer to put the transaction in a fictitious name, falsely convincing the victim this protects their money until the goods or services are received. The “seller” retrieves the funds and the goods never arrive.

Just as you wouldn’t send cash through the mail to a complete stranger, don’t use a money transfer service to pay for a product you haven’t seen, from an individual you have not met.  For more information on how to protect yourself from scams using Western Union go to their page here.


Golden Rules

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  2. If they’re calling or emailing you out of the blue with an offer, you probably don’t want it
  3. If you think you’ve been scammed, go directly to the bank, the police or other authorities. Also report it at


Have you been scammed by one of these? If so you’re one of MANY who have!

Tell us about it in the comments below so that we can all know more about how these fraudsters operate!

Let’s get together and stop them 🙂


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