Fraud can happen to anyone – and it can take many forms. It can also affect those you wouldn’t expect. That’s why it’s good to know the dangers, and how you can protect yourself.

‘Friends and family’ fraud

Twice as many 18-24 year olds fall for scams on social media than 55+ year olds. (38%).1

If living online is second nature, you may not think of social media as a place to be careful – and that can put you at risk. So if someone contacts you asking for a quick loan, make sure you’re actually talking to who you think you are.

  • Look out for language that doesn’t sound like them.
  • Give them a call on their usual number. Speak to them in person to check that the message is genuine.

Not sure about a transaction? Use online statements to spot strange activity.

Holiday fraud

The top two types of travel fraud last year related to airline tickets (47%) and accommodation booking (38%).2

Seen a beautiful villa or flight at a bargain price? Make sure it’s not too good to be true. Holiday fraud cost £6.7 million in 2017 – over £1,500 on average per victim. When booking your next trip online:

  • Read reviews on reputable sites. Bad reviews are a clear warning sign but also look out for companies and properties with no reviews at all.
  • Use ABTA and ATOL registered holiday companies. Visit their websites where you can check if your holiday company is registered.
  • Avoid booking or paying directly with property owners – stick to card payments on official websites. Bear in mind that fraudsters often ask people to pay by direct bank transfer or wire transfer

Read more tips on avoiding holiday scams.

Dating fraud

Only 13% of reported dating fraud cases in 2017 affected people under the age of 30.3

Online dating sites are a popular way to seek out someone special – but some have other intentions. Romance fraudsters enter into relationships to trick people into giving them money or personal information. There were 3,557 cases reported to Action Fraud last year, costing victims £11,500 on average. However, there are easy ways to avoid getting hurt:

  • Check their story for inconsistencies.
  • Fraudsters may ask many questions, but don’t share in return.
  • Be wary of any requests to give bank details or financial help to someone you’ve just met, or have only met online. A fraudster may tell a convincing lie so that you’ll send money.
  • Try to make decisions with your head, not your heart.

Read more on how to avoid dating scams.

Pension fraud

Those between the ages of 45 and 65 are most at risk.4

Pension fraud is when people are persuaded to transfer their pensions into fraudulent schemes – often tempted by the promise of high returns and low risk. It cost victims £91,000 on average in 2017. Here’s a few ways to help keep your future secure.

  • Be suspicious  of unrequested investment advice or offers of a free pension review.
  • Be wary of unusual overseas investments or ‘opportunities’ to release cash from your pension even though you’re under 55.
  • Check the FCA register to be sure you’re dealing with a legitimate adviser or firm.
  • Never be pressured into making a decision quickly.

Find out more about how you can protect yourself from investment scams.

Property fraud

More likely to affect owners of empty, tenanted or mortgage-free homes.5

Property fraud is when a scammer sells or mortgages your property without your consent. Here are some tips to shelter yourself:

  • Make sure your property is registered with the HM Land Registry.
  • Keep your contact details up to date.
  • Track activities like transfers with property alerts.

Buying a home? It’s also worth knowing how to protect yourself from mortgage deposit scams.