how to spot a scam

Protect yourself from scams

Protect yourself from scams

How do you avoid getting scammed? Would you be able to spot a fraudster? Do you know the difference between a fraud and a scam?

Being part of the community for nearly 50 years, Foys really don’t like hearings tories of our clients or the members of the lcoal community getting ripped off through the multitude of scams pervasive in soicately and online today. So we thought we’d like to share a basic guide into how to spot a scam and the things that should raise red flags and help you identify whether or not you are dealing with a scammer.

Banks and other financial institutions see a scam as the customer being duped into allowing authorised transactions to take place. They might have been fooled into handing over access information or believe that they are making moving money for legitimate reasons. However the police view fraud and scams as the same thing. And it can happen to anyone.

How many scams happen a year?

3.7 million instances of fraud were reported in the year up to March 2020. A figure that is consistent with the previous year. Bank and credit card fraud along with consumer and retail fraud accounted for the vast majority of these.

Fraud and scams also increased during lockdown with a rise of 33%. So it’s time that you began to protect yourself by understanding the different types of scam and how they work.

How can you identify a scammer?

Scammers want to get at your money and everything they do is aimed at making this happen. Ideally, they require you to help them out by giving them money directly but they are also after personal details or information. Technology and the rise of online banking have been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you are less likely to keep money in the house as you can use cash points and make online payments. On the other hand, the scammer looks to exploit these things. Online shopping, social media and email have opened new ways for old frauds to be worked and you need to stay alert.

You probably know about phishing; that is attempts to dupe you into giving away vital information via email. But did you know about vishing and smishing? These are much the same thing but using a phone call or a text message to achieve the fraudster’s hoped-for outcome.

Scams include a mix of the following key features:

  • A sense of urgency. You need to take action immediately whether you think you’re helping the police with an investigation or being offered an investment opportunity.
  • Handing over of personal details. With these it’s possible to steal your identity.
  • A source you think you can trust. The phone call or email comes from a person or organisation you would usually trust like your bank or the police.
  • Providing access either by providing information or by making transactions yourself.
  • Offering something that sounds like an amazing opportunity – one you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

Different types of scams

Scammers are after two things; information and money. Ideally, they want you to hand over your funds to them so be aware of the ways they try to do this.

Counterfeit goods

The easiest way to part you from your money is to sell you something. But the designer goods being sold at the car boot sale will turn out to be not quite the quality or brand you took them for. Or they may be sold on online. Although the major auction sites such as eBay don’t allow fake goods to be listed this doesn’t stop it happening and spotting a fraud is more difficult online. It’s easy to get sucked in if you think that you’re getting a bargain.

Avoid being scammed by not rushing into making a purchase. Examine the product carefully and check the labels. Look at the packaging. Would a high-end item really be sold in a plastic bag?

If you’re buying online check reviews for the seller before making a decision. Online shopping became more popular during lockdown. And North Yorkshire Police have reported a rise in auction site frauds during the same period. Scammers will go where they can make money.

Always ask yourself it’s too much of a bargain? If the price is truly astoundingly low then, unless you know the trader to be reputable, walk away. And don’t forget to raise your concerns with your local Trading Standards team. While some fake goods are just a rip-off others which don’t comply with health and safety standards are actually dangerous.

A royal request

The email or letter comes out of the blue. You’ve never heard of the sender who might be a prince, a grieving widow or a religious leader but they sound feasible. And they have a lot of money that they need you to help them move out of their country. If you help them out you’ll have done a good deed for a stranger and you’ll get some of the money. It sounds great until they ask for funds from you to pay transaction fees, administrative costs or similar.

In most cases, the poor grammar and spelling plus the too-good-to-true offer will alert you to this fraud.

Money Mule

Jobs can be hard to come by and this one sounded like a great way to make some money. Your employee transfers money to you and you send it on to someone else after taking a cut. You won’t be told that it’s money laundering, although it does seem a bit odd that you receive the funds in the form of vouchers.

Always be wary when anyone even a friend asks you to move money through your account. Being involved in money laundering has serious consequences. Likewise, payment that comes in an odd form is a flag that this isn’t legitimate.

Romance scams

You’ve met your perfect match online. They got in touch with you, are really good looking and are so interested in every detail of your life. Then they ask if they can borrow some money. The reason sounds legitimate; it might even be to cover travel costs for coming to meet you.

It’s a scam. Even if you don’t give them the funds they request they can use the personal details you’ve shared to try and steal your identity. Don’t be swept off your feet without arranging a video call. Inevitably they’ll find an excuse not to because they look nothing like their photo.

Is that website legit?

Buying fake goods isn’t the only scam waiting to catch you out online. You also need to watch out for spoofing. This is where a website appears to at a different address to the one it is actually at. So you’ll think that you’re visiting the legitimate site when you’re actually at one created by scammers.  If you go ahead and log in or place an order then the scammers have you.

Avoid getting scammed by checking the site carefully. Does the website address seem a bit odd, maybe with just a reference to the brand in question? Are there lots of spelling and grammatical errors? If so, warning bells should be ringing. Check carefully for reviews before you consider buying from such a site. At best you’ll be unlikely to see your money again.

Investment scams

It’s a great opportunity for investment. But actually you’ve not had any previous contact with the company and they seem in a bit of a rush to get you signed up. Before you get carried away with the amazing returns on offer go the FCA website. They have a handy tool to check investment opportunities and avoid getting ripped off.

Clicking links

Stealing access details means that scammers can try and access your accounts. Getting you to click on a link is one of the ways they try to do this. The link may have come via an email asking you to log in to your account to deal with some issue. It might even claim that your account has been locked because of fraudulent activity! Alternatively, you may have been asked to click on a link in a social media post or to upgrade an app.

Clicking on the link could either allow malware to be downloaded or take you to a fake website. The malware will give the scammer access to your device while the fake website will harvest your login detail if you enter them.

Think before you click. Particularly if the link is in an email or text message. Access the site independently, check there are no issues with your account, change your passwords and report it.

Steps you can take as an individual to stay safe

You can’t know every scam but you can apply some basic rules to keep yourself and your money safe.

  • Be suspicious is it seems too good an offer
  • Be wary of clicking on links even it if the source seems reliable
  • Treat poor spelling and grammar on website as a warning sign
  • Don’t send money to people you don’t know – even if you’ve been ‘online friends’ for ages
  • Step back and do some research before parting with your money

Being scammed can happen to anyone. Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated so it’s easy to get caught out. If it happens to you make sure that you report it and help to protect others.

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. Also, please note that although we may use the word solicitor, your case could be carried out by a legal advisor, legal executive or paralegal depending on the nature of the case.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


Attending a video call

My quarantine experience during the COVID-19 pandemic

My quarantine experience during the COVID-19 pandemic

Melanie Penney, a Wills and Probate legal executive in our Worksop office, writes about her experience during this pandemic.

When I rushed home after a busy 10-hour day in the office, I noticed our 6-year-old had developed a persistent cough. Coughing – a common sign of COVID-19 – is alarming given the current situation where the virus is rapidly spreading. Suddenly, our dining room became my office and we were beginning our two weeks of self-isolation, or so I thought. But as soon as we started self-isolating, the UK lockdown was also announced, meaning the office would be shut for three weeks, possibly even longer.

Working from home

My desktop computer arrived on the first day of self-isolation. Sitting in front of a computer in my dining room felt just like being in the Worksop office.

At Foys Solicitors, we are prepared for a situation like this. Our robust digital infrastructure means we can securely work from a remote environment with little to no interruption to service – we’re adapting and we’re winning. However, it quickly dawned on me that as a Wills and Probate lawyer, I interface with clients regularly and I must find a way to still meet with clients while adhering to social distancing rules.

Thankfully, technology has come to the rescue – initial appointments are carried out through WhatsApp Video Call, FaceTime or Skype (I feel like I’m down with the kids now). For final meetings, I conduct them through open windows or doors at a safe distance of two metres. I know my colleagues are also using video calls to ‘attend’ court – and perhaps like me when I’m on video calls, they look professional from the waist up but may still in their pyjama bottoms.

After our two-week self-isolation, my husband had to return to work which left me to juggle meetings and looking after our 6-year-old, who is living her best life in isolation with plenty of singing and dancing, not to mention changing at least four unsuitable outfits a day. Once, she even taught our pet dog how to trampoline when I was attending a telephone appointment – that really was a face-with-tears-of-joy emoji moment. Suffice to say, dealing with an energetic daughter during lockdown requires a creative approach. I soon master the ‘Swan Movement’ – keeping a straight face during video calls with clients while my hands are waving furiously in an attempt to communicate with my daughter; it is as if I have developed a new sign language.

We’ll make it through the COVID-19 pandemic

I definitely miss seeing my family, friends, colleagues and, for some bizarre reason, the daily moans, and I know that this pandemic will be over someday. As a nation, we will come out on top!

Living in the midst of this pandemic could have spelt disaster. I could have experienced negativity in abundance which resulted in never-ending days seeped with stress. My career could have come hurtling towards the ground with speed. My firm could have folded. I could have run out of loo roll (oops)! But none of these scenarios has happened. On the contrary, I have witnessed an incredible rise in human kindness among family members, colleagues, clients, friends, neighbours and even strangers. I have experienced a lovely growth in community spirit and a stronger sense of togetherness.

My daughter has learned that the frontline NHS workers are heroes. She gleefully (and gratefully) clangs her wooden spoon and pan every Thursday evening as my neighbours and I join her – all with bright smiles and a tremendous sense of gratitude and pride. At work, everyone at Foys Solicitors also acknowledges this heroism and projects our gratitude by offering discounted services to all NHS workers.

We have discovered a new sense of gratitude for colleagues, warehouse workers, truck drivers, farmers, grocery store assistants and other professionals who are out on the frontlines for us every day as we fight this virus. We have become protective of our health, our families, our friends, our homes, our jobs, our environment, our communities and more.

This pandemic is without doubt challenging, but we’re going to win this.

I am confident the positive outcomes we are experiencing during quarantine will continue long after lockdown is lifted and we will be better because of it. For now, I am grateful that my house is multifunctional – it morphs from home to office, school, cinema, gym, restaurant and salon. I am also proud to work for Foys Solicitors – #FoysSolicitorsWinning as the hashtag goes.

Best wishes,

Melanie Penney

If you would like to know more about our Wills and Probate services, take a look at our Wills, Trusts and Probate page.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


A reduction in fees as a thank you to our NHS

A reduction in fees as a thank you to our NHS

From everyone at Foys, a thank you to all the NHS staff for keeping Britain safe.

We at Foys Solicitors wish to show our appreciation to the tireless work of the NHS staff during these difficult times. As a thank you to our amazing NHS staff, we are offering a 20% reduction on our fees, until September 2020, on all new instructions, to anyone currently working for the NHS. Please contact your local Foys office for more detail.

Despite the coronavirus lockdown, we can be contacted in the usual way as we continue to offer a professional service to new and existing clients. To discuss any legal queries, please contact us on the relevant telephone number for your local office or contact us via the Contact Us page.

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


Foys office closed

Coronavirus update

Coronavirus update

In line with government advice, our staff are continuing to work from home.

Please note that our offices are now closed to protect our staff and clients against coronavirus and in line with government advice. However, we are working from home and are continuing to offer an uninterrupted service to existing and new clients. We have systems in place to be able to continue to provide a professional service and quality legal advice. We can be contacted in the usual way and will continue to support our clients however we can. Please contact us on the relevant telephone number for your local office or contact us via the Contact Us page.

With our best wishes,

Foys

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


Solicitor working

Coronavirus – We’re open as normal

Coronavirus – We’re open as normal

Foys Solicitors is open as usual.

Please note that we at Foys are mindful of the government’s guidance regarding the coronavirus outbreak, and the safety of our clients and staff is our priority. For this reason, while business is continuing as normal, we are taking steps to encourage social distancing. This includes the offering of telephone and/ or video appointments rather than face-to-face appointments where possible. Contact us on:

While all our receptions remain open, we would ask that everyone bear in mind the current guidance regarding social distancing and unnecessary contact. If possible, please scan/ send in documents rather than delivering them in person. We can still be contacted by telephone, email or via the contact us page and we are taking all steps to provide an uninterrupted service to our clients.

Sincerely,

Foys Solicitors

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Here’s to a bright new year, full of opportunity and growth. We look back on the past year with the fondest memories, ready to embrace new challenges and successes. Bring on 2020!

Every new year marks a new beginning, and we have every confidence that 2020 will be filled with prosperity, positivity and opportunity.

It has been an immensely rewarding year for us, and we are grateful for all the challenges and opportunities that have come our way. We look forward to embracing the new year with a renewed sense of determination and pride.

So with 2019 winding down, we would like to say thank you to all our clients for trusting us, and extend our warmest wishes for the year ahead. We are sure it will be a great one.

Foys has been providing excellent services to residents across South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire since 1972. Our team of highly skilled and respected lawyers have experience in everything from personal injury to probate services to landlord and tenant matters. If you have a legal issue and would like to discuss it with us, give us a call on 01302 327136 or get in touch via our handy Online Form.

Here’s to another year of success, loyalty and strength.

See you in 2020!

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


Xmas jumper day 2019

Foys Solicitors hosted a Christmas Jumper Day in support of Sheffield Children’s Hospital!

Foys Solicitors hosted a Christmas Jumper Day in support of Sheffield Children’s Hospital!

At Foys Solicitors, we regularly give back to the local community – and often host charity events. This December, we held a festive Christmas Jumper and cakes day to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

At Foys, we believe that strength breeds strength. That’s why we regularly get involved in community events and host charity days. Community is at the heart of what we do, and we’re always looking for new ways to contribute to worthy causes in our local area.

That’s why on 13 December 2019, some of our offices held a Christmas Jumper Day in support of Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Each staff member came to work wearing their most festive jumper and donated money to the charity. It was a day of fun, laughter and success.

Worksop office
Worksop office-Festive jumpers
Worksop office-team outside

Why Sheffield Children’s Hospital?

Sheffield Children’s Hospital was established in 1876 and has been providing services under the NHS since 1948. Managed by the Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust it provides world-class services for children and their families. As one of the only four dedicated children’s hospital trusts in the UK, it delivers integrated healthcare for children and young adults, including mental health, community and specialist care services.

The trust’s vision is “to provide a healthier future for children and young people”.

They seek to lead improvements in paediatric care, empower compassionate staff and provide high- quality patient experiences and outcomes.

Help support the Sheffield Children’s Hospital

The Sheffield Children’s Hospital is supported by an array of charities. The main one is The Children’s Hospital Charity (TCHC), and you can find out more about their work and how you can get involved here.

There are many ways you can support the Sheffield Children’s Hospital; simply choose from one of these fundraising options available on TCHC’s website.

If you found this interesting, take a look at:

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


Foys Chapeltown Christmas Market 1

Out and about in the community

Out and about in the community

We’re feeling the festive spirit at Foys Solicitors.

The Christmas festive spirit was in the air when the Chapeltown Office held a stall at the annual Christmas Market on 30 November 2019 at the Thomas Chambers Newton Memorial Hall.

Christmas shoppers had the opportunity to discuss the professional legal services available at Foys as well as purchase Christmas treats for their families and friends. All proceeds made will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.

If you would like to learn about our personal law and business law services, contact your local Foys office:

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


Ben Couch at Sheffield housing event

Foys Solicitors visit the Béton House ‘Park Hill Shop’

Foys Solicitors visit the Béton House ‘Park Hill Shop’

At Foys Solicitors, we believe in keeping up with new developments in the Sheffield region.

That’s why on the 09 October 2019, Ben Couch of Foys Solicitors attended the opening of the Béton House ‘Park Hill Shop’, a pop-up showcasing an exciting new student development in the heart of Sheffield – Park Hill.

The shop, located on 26 Pinstone Street in the Sheffield City Centre, offers visitors the chance to see scheme layouts, get a taste of a model student room and learn about the history of the estate.

Park Hill, a once neglected and ageing post-war estate, is now well on its way to becoming one of Sheffield’s most coveted and special places. Park Hill is recognised internationally as a significant landmark in brutalist post-war design. The new development will celebrate the original design features, as well as adding new life and identity to the estate and accommodation for 356 students.

Ben had a great time exploring the potential of the new development.

At Foys Solicitors, we offer a variety of expert legal services ranging from bespoke personal advice to corporate issues.

Sheffield can trust Foys Solicitors with property and conveyancing law

At Foys Solicitors, we have a team of expert property and conveyancing solicitors who can assist with buying and selling properties, renting and letting properties and much more. We offer an initial free consultation to get to know you and your case, so we fully understand and explain the best next steps to take. To get in touch, fill out our Online Form or call our Sheffield offices today.

Before you go, take a look at some of our other articles:

Image from alumnogroup.com/beton-house-shop-opening/

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below


Worksop event

Foys Solicitors at the What’s Next event in Worksop

Foys Solicitors at the What’s Next event in Worksop

We’re more than just solicitors dealing with legal affairs.

At Foys Solicitors, we believe in giving back to our community. That’s why Foys Solicitors’ Worksop branch attended the What’s Next event on 01 October 2019 to represent the legal sector. Organised by the Nottinghamshire County Council, this event was for all school/college leavers in the Nottinghamshire area. Our Worksop team were there to advise and guide anyone interested in a career in law.

We had a great time giving advice to the next generation of legal experts.

At Foys Solicitors, we offer a variety of specialist legal services ranging from bespoke personal advice to corporate issues. Our free initial consultation gives us the chance to understand your case to provide you with reliable and personalised legal advice.

To get in touch, fill out our Online Form or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

Enquire About Our Services Today

Book an initial FREE consultation or to find out more about our personal and business law services

Call the office nearest to you and speak to one of our professional specialists or fill out the form below