How to avoid common scams

Posted January 4th, 2023 by SimpliSafe

Our world is constantly evolving - with technological advancements enabling the introduction of various smart gadgets and gizmos, it would seem as though we have it all. However, these developments can also bring a host of new risks. The methods that scammers use to steal personal information can be extreme, and often they go undetected. With this in mind, we’ve curated a complete guide on how to avoid common scams, so that you can keep yourself protected around the clock - whether that’s online or otherwise. 

Email phishing scams

Scammers will stop at nothing to get their hands on your personal information, often posing as a seemingly ‘trustworthy’ person or a well-known organisation. In most cases, you would receive an alert that appears out of the blue, featuring a message that asks you to confirm your login and password. You must always be sceptical if you receive something similar, as otherwise you could end up with an infected device, your online accounts could be at risk, or you may become a victim of identity fraud. Not only this, if a hacker does manage to access your personal accounts, they then may be able to send the message on to your friends and family - allowing the cycle to continue.

So, if you do receive a similar email, what should you do? 

  • Verify the sender’s email address and check to see if it’s the same format as other legitimate emails you have previously received from the company to confirm its legitimacy

  • Look out for poor spelling and grammar, blurry graphics and urgent messages

  • Always check the link before clicking - e.g. ensure it begins with https:// rather than http://

  • Forward suspicious emails to and The National Cyber Security Centre will investigate

  • Always be dubious about supplying personal information online

  • If you do provide sensitive information, stay calm. Make sure you change your credentials on relevant sites, and contact your bank as soon as possible

Post scams

Scam mail is used to obtain money by deceiving the recipient, tempting them with an offer that seems too good to be true; this could be receiving a letter claiming that you’ve won a sum of money, or that you’re the lucky winner of a generous prize. To receive your winnings, you’ll often be required to supply personal information, which can have devastating consequences. Similar to phishing scams, you must always be cautious of anyone who asks for your personal information, even if they appear to be a trustworthy source. Bad spelling and grammar is also something to look out for, and always question why you’d be receiving a letter from a company you’ve never signed up to. Plus, if they ask you to pay money up front in order to claim your prize, it’s likely to be a scam. 

Doorstep scams

Just about anyone can fall into the trap of a doorstep scam, whether that’s in the form of fake charity collecting, or scammers urging you to make an energy metre prepayment, these clever methods can vary. If you do find yourself in similar situations, don’t let people pull the wool over your eyes. You have every right to ask further questions to prove their legitimacy, such as asking for a charity number, which can then be checked on the government's Charity Commission website. It’s also very unlikely that a respected company would resort to door-to-door sales, so always be cautious of anyone knocking on your door who’s keen to get their hands on your personal information. 

For an additional layer of protection against doorstep scams, you could also invest in an outdoor security camera or indoor home security camera - both capturing crystal clear footage (be it day or night) - which can then be used as police evidence. 

Holiday booking scams

Unless you want your time in the sun to be ruined, always keep an eye out for holiday booking scams. Scammers will use an attractive deal as a way to lure holiday makers into a trap, urging them to make a payment by supplying their personal details. The consequences of this can be devastating - both from a financial and emotional standpoint - so remain constantly cautious. 

With this in mind, how can you spot a fake advertisement? 

  • Does the offer come from a limited company? Could you research the business address? 

  • What does the website look like? Is it clean and professional? 

  • Are there any spelling errors, low quality images or is the formatting poor?

  • Check the URL: if there is a long string of random letters and numbers, it could be a holiday booking scam 

  • Check to see if the company is ABTA registered

Telephone scams

And scammers won’t stop there. You may find yourself being contacted by someone posing as your bank, insisting that you confirm your security details right this second. This could be your online banking passwords, PIN numbers and account details, all of which will make for easier access to your personal information.

It’s also not uncommon for fraudsters to call you, but hang up when it starts ringing. Often, the person on the other end will become curious, dialling back the caller they missed. Unfortunately, they might instead be met with a long recorded message, which is designed to keep people on the phone for an extended period of time. In turn, the charges rack up, leading to criminals claiming a large sum of money. 

The best ways to protect yourself from telephone scams include: 

  • Being cautious of numbers you don’t recognise 

  • Setting a password or PIN on your phone so you don’t accidentally dial back the number 

  • Getting in touch with your phone network provider and putting a bar on calls to overseas and premium rate numbers

  • Deleting missed calls from suspicious numbers from your call list 

  • Alerting your phone network provider if you believe you’ve been called by a scammer

  • Never provide personal information over the phone to someone that has called you

Dating scams

The wonderful world of online dating can bring many joys, but could you actually be falling in love with a scammer? Dating scams occur when a level of trust is built between individuals, however one part of the couple might attempt to access the other’s personal information using a fake profile. 

There are, of course, ways to use these platforms safely: 

  • Never hand out your personal information to anyone online, even if their elaborate story appears trustworthy, never send or receive money from someone online

  • Stick with reputable dating websites

  • Always trust your gut 

  • Don’t share your contact details 

  • Avoid using your webcam to prevent any footage being used against you

Alongside protecting yourself from the above scams, you should also make an effort to enhance your home’s physical security for 24/7 protection. To find out more about how the bespoke SimpliSafe home security system works, contact our team today.