Martin Lewis, 46, issued an email scam warning to viewers on This Morning to explain what to look out for and how to know if you’re being scammed.
The Money Saving Expert, or MSE for short, advised people to be wary of the wording of certain emails to tell if they are a scam.
“Look out for poor grammar or dodgy spelling in emails, he said.
He added that there is a four word phrase you need to look out for to identify a scam email.
“If they start the email with ‘dear sir or madam’ – this often means it’s not from a legit company.”
He also provided a number of other general rules to spot scams.
Never give personal details if they call, text or email
The classic scam is fraudsters sending messages or emails asking for your details to break into your accounts, claiming to be from a bank, insurer, HMRC, me (yes people call as Martin Lewis) or even the police.
There are three types …
a) Phishing – This is where scammers send you a spam email from a company it hopes you have a connection with e.g. your bank saying something like “your bank security is broken, click here” or “we need your help to retrieve funds. It’ll then take you through to a professional-looking website – often a mirror image of the real thing, and it’ll ask you to put in your password or personal details in.
Never, ever, EVER click a link in an email or open an attachment unless you’re 100% sure of its contents. It’s worth noting a very common one is a HMRC email promising a refund – HMRC never do this by email – so if you get one it’s a fake.
b) Smishing – SMS-phishing – it’s the same as phishing but a text is used instead of an email. Even if the text number looks genuine, always call it back using an official number you have found elsewhere, and never text it back.
c) Vishing – voice-phishing. This is where someone calls you claiming to be from a bank, insurer, utility provider, etc asking for personal details, like your password or mother’s maiden name – again NEVER EVER give it.
An increasingly common trick is where they call, ask you to call your bank back, but play a dialling tone, tricking you into thinking they’ve hung up. Yet you’re still talking to them.
Instead, say you’ll call them back – if they are legit they won’t mind. Even if they give a number to call back, don’t dial it.
Go and find the official number for that institution and call it a bit later, or preferably from another phone, as often the scammers stay on the line and play a dial tone while you call tricking you into thinking you’ve actually called the right place.
Don’t fall for fake deals on WhatsApp & Facebook and other social media
I constantly hear of many bogus offers popping up in people’s feeds and messages, eg, Alton Towers and Ryanair giving away free tickets on WhatsApp.
The key here is to know the source. Is the person giving you the information trustworthy, and is the source trustworthy too? Go to where you know it’s legit and check it. In other words even if it looks legit, never just click without separately checking.
And of course as you may have heard me say before I DON’T DO ADS – my face has been plastered all over the internet, over 1,000 ads on Facebook alone wrongly claiming I’m endorsing binary trading, PPI companies and more. NOT ONE of these scam ads is genuine – don’t be fooled. And please pass on the message to anyone you think may be fooled by these ads.
The Money Saving Expert, also known as MSE, spoke as part of his slot on Good Morning Britain this morning.
He warned that N-Power customers will experience a rise in costs which will see their energy bills soar.
He warned that the company was increasing prices by 5.5 per cent for those who pay a direct debit.
This could see them paying an average of £1,230 per year on their dual fuel bills.
However, through switching, the lower possible tariff would be around £810, he explained.