Quick Exit

Scams / Financial Abuse

There are a range of scams you could be targeted for: 

Doorstep Scams
Postal Scams
Telephone scams and nuisance calls
Investment Scams
Cyber / Internet Scams
Covid 19 related Scams 

Doorstep Scams 

Doorstep scams take place when someone comes to your door and tries to scam you out of your money or tries to gain access to your home. 

Rogue traders: A cold-caller may offer you a service you don’t really need. They may claim to have noticed something about your property that needs work or improvement, such as the roof, and offer to fix it for cash or an inflated price.

Bogus officials: People claim to be from your utility company as a way of gaining access to your home. Always check the ID of any official, and if they're genuine they won't mind waiting while you check.

Fake charity collections: A fraudster may pretend they're from a charity and ask you to donate money, clothes or household goods. Legitimate charities will all have a charity number that can be checked on the Charity Commission website. 

Made-up consumer surveys: Some scammers ask you to complete a survey so they can get hold of your personal details, or use it as a cover for persuading you to buy something you don’t want or need.

Hard luck stories: Someone may come to your door and ask you to help them out with cash, ask to use your telephone or claim they're feeling unwell. The story is made up and intended to con you out of your money or gain access to your home.


Watch the Age UK video clip on how to avoid doorstep scams

Postal Scams 

Postal scams can involve a range of different methods to try and get you to send money. 

Lotteries and prize draws

You may receive a letter congratulating you on winning a cash prize. But you won’t receive any prize, and you may be asked to call a premium rate number or to pay fees to 'release' your prize. 

Pyramid schemes

Pyramid schemes can take the form of chain letters or investment schemes that offer profits for little or no risk. You may be encouraged to ask others to join, or told to send money to the person who has contacted you to receive your return on investment. 

Hard luck stories

With these types of stories, the fraudster may claim to have lost all of their money in unfortunate circumstances or that they need to pay for an operation, and will ask you for money. 

Unclaimed inheritance

You may receive a letter addressed to you, which tells you that someone has left you money in their will. These letters can refer to real law firms and even have seemingly genuine email addresses, postal addresses, or websites. Always check with the Solicitors Regulation Authority as to the authenticity of such letters. They regularly receive reports of similar scams and post them on their website. 

Advance fee fraud

You may receive a request to help transfer money out of another country in return for a substantial reward. Often the letter will appear to be from a Government official or lawyer. 

Do not reply to the letter and never send your bank or personal details. Often these kinds of scam letters are badly written. If you see spelling mistakes and poor grammar, this is a good indication that it’s a scam. 

Bogus job offers

These usually involve an offer of work to do at home if you first send a registration fee. You may even receive an offer of an interview over the telephone. Legitimate employment agencies will not charge you a registration fee.

Telephone Scams and Nuisance Calls 

Nuisance calls are exactly that- a nuisance!  They are not usually illegal.  Cold calls tend to be companies trying to sell you things. 

To reduce the number of cold calls you receive register your telephone number with the Telephone Preference Service. 

You can also check to see to see who called you by going to the website https://who-called.co.uk/

It is often difficult to work out if a telephone call is a cold call or a scam.  For more information go to the Age UK website at www.ageuk.org.uk/phone-scams  or www.ageuk.org.uk/cold-calls-and-texts the website gives useful information about bank scams HMRC scams and compensation calls.

Investment Scams 

Investment scams are designed to look like genuine investments. The scammers may have a professional looking website and documents, this makes them difficult to spot.  An investment opportunity is likely to be a scam if a company contacts you unexpectedly and they downplay any risks to your money. 

For more information visit Age UK 

Cyber / Internet Scams 

Internet crime comes under many different guises. Online frauds can include:

Action Fraud provides further details of these internet crimes and how to protect yourself online. 

There is also some really useful advice on how to spot a scam website on the Which? Website

COVID-19 scams – information from trading standards

Things such as Facebook community groups, WhatsApp groups and the Nextdoor social network that send neighbourhood alerts can be great ways of staying in touch with those around you, however it can be difficult to know who to trust. These are all online and not everyone has access to the internet, so please see the telephone numbers below for your County if you require assistance.

Please be aware that not everyone out there is trustworthy and some people will take advantage of this unusual situation our society is facing.

Here are just some of the scams we are aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:

  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for COVID-19 – there is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
  • Home cleaning services
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
  • Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
  • People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

What can I do to avoid being scammed?

  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
  • Take your time; don’t be rushed.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of helps if you are unsure.
  • If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click on links in emails.
  • Putting up a deterrent sign. You could put a ‘no cold callers’ sign up on your door or window, which should deter any cold callers from knocking on your door.
  • Set up passwords for utilities. You can set up a password with your utility companies to be used by anyone they send round to your home. Phone your utility company to find out how to do this.
  • Nominate a neighbour. Find out if you have a nominated neighbour scheme where a neighbour can help to make sure if callers are safe.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Know who you’re dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with your local Council on the numbers below.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
  • Contact the Mailing Preference Service to have your name taken off direct mailing lists in the UK
  • Put a ‘no junk mail’ sign on your door. You can make this sign yourself or buy one online.
  • You can avoid being added to mailing lists which scammers sometimes get hold of. When you register to vote, tick the box to opt out of the ‘edited register’ (also known as the ‘open register’) as this can be used to send unsolicited marketing mail.
  • Register with the Telephone Preference Service – it's free and it allows you to opt out of any unsolicited live telesales calls. This should reduce the number of cold calls you receive but may not block scammers.
  • Talk to your phone provider to see what other privacy services and call-blocking services are available, although you may need to pay for some of these services.
  • If you have a smartphone, you can use the settings on the phone to block unwanted numbers. If you’re not sure how to do this, you could visit your local mobile phone shop for assistance.

What should I do if I’m a victim of a Scam?

If you think you or someone you know may have fallen victim to a scam report it to Warrington Borough Council Trading Standards or the police immediately. In many instances it is not possible to recover money or goods but a quick response with the right advice and support can help limit further losses.

Trading Standards can be contacted at Email tradingstandards@warrington.gov.uk  or phone 03454 04 05 06

Warrington Borough Council work closely with the Citizens Advice bureau.

The Gateway 89 Sankey Street



WA1 1SR 

0300 3309 091

Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre; they provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and cyber crime.

  • To report a scam telephone Action fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report via their website at actionfraud.police.uk

National Trading Standards Scams Team has launched a ‘friends against scams campaign’.

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, the Friends Against Scams website has lots of information and free online training.

Why not become a Scam Marshal? A Scam Marshal is any resident in the UK who has been targeted by a scam and now wants to fight back and take a stand against scams. Scam Marshals do this by sharing their own experiences, helping others to report and recognise scams and sending any scam mail that they receive to the National Trading Standards Scams Team so that it can be used as evidence in future investigative and enforcement work. Visit the Scam Marshals section of the Friends Against Scams website for more information and to sign up.