The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issues free information on the latest scams and advice on how to avoid being a victim.

Common ones covered are:

o Pyramid schemes, where the only way to make money is to scam others

o Matrix schemes, where victims buy a low value product and go on a waiting list for a high value prize when lots of others sign up

o Prize Draws, where victims send fees to claim, or telephone an 090 premium rate number that only the fraudsters and the telecoms providers make money from.

o Advance Fee Frauds, where victims are offered very good terms on loans, or a chance to help an overseas organisation, usually based in Nigeria, launder money for a profit. In both cases victims pay fees up front and in some cases their bank accounts are cleaned out.

o Onlime dating scams, with victims sending money to their new “friend” from overseas who wants to meet but can’t afford the air fare.

o Phising scams with emails that appear to be from a bank asking victims to confirm, update or validate account information, for the purpose of identity theft.

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