Angela Needham
By Angela Needham
Financial Writer
Updated 25 June 2024
|Read time: 6 mins

Protecting yourself from scams

It’s understandable to feel stressed out when thinking about protecting yourself from fraud. It’s a natural response, especially in today's digital age where credit card scams have become increasingly sophisticated.  

However, with a little awareness and a few simple precautions, there are ways you can safeguard yourself. In this article, we’ll go over the most common types of credit card scams and warning signs to look out for.

What to look out for

The main aim of credit card scams is to try and get access to a person’s credit card information. This includes:

The credit card number

PIN number

Password to the online account

One-time-passcode sent via text message or email

Other key information about the credit card holder

 

A scammer may try to obtain your information by doing the following:

Sending a fake text/email pretending to be your bank, the HRMC or a company


Fraudsters might send an email or text message posing as your bank, a member of HMRC, or a well-known company. They may even pretend to be a close friend or family member asking for money or access to your credit card. 

Always be cautious if you receive an email or message requesting your personal and credit card information. Most companies (including us) will not ask you to email your personal details or make payments via email or text.

Calling you directly pretending to be your bank, the HMRC or a company


Similar to a fake text/email, a scammer may call your phone number directly. Again, remain cautious if they ask for your credit card details, especially if they call you. When speaking with a potential scammer, be aware of the following:

They use scare tactics like threatening to call the police or taking legal action

They make you feel guilty by suggesting something bad will happen to them or a cause

They refuse to hang up the phone or they try to call you back.

Directing you to a fake shopping website


Scammers may set up fake social media adverts and websites in order to obtain your credit card information. A quick way to check if a website is real is to look for a locked padlock on the left-hand side of the search bar. Also pay close attention to the URL for signs of misspellings and fake addresses

Examples of fake websites:

www.jonlewis.co.uk (a missing “h”)

www.johnleewis.com (adding an extra “e”)

www.wait-rose.co.uk (adding a “-” in one word)

www.john.lewis.finance.co.uk (using “.” in between words)

Monitoring your phone or computer through an unsecured public Wi-Fi


Scammers may set up their own public Wi-Fi network to track your online activity. If you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi, avoid shopping online if you can. If you’re visiting a shop, venue or a cafe, ask a staff member for the space’s Wi-Fi and password to ensure you’re connecting to the right one.

Questions to ask yourself

If you feel like you’ve been involved with a scam, it’s important to listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t feel quite right, ask yourself the following questions:

Does it seem too good to be true?

Although an all-inclusive 4-week holiday to St. Tropez for less than £200 sounds very appealing, if it feels too good to be true, it might be. With offers like these, it’s ok to be sceptical.
 

How did this person get your contact information?

Were you expecting to be contacted by the company/bank? Most companies and banks will not call you out of the blue. 
 

Is this a real company? 

You can check if they have a postal address or look them up on the government website to see if they’re registered. If you cannot find any traces of their existence online or in the phone books, it’s likely they’re not legitimate.
 

Are they pressuring you to transfer money or pay them quickly? 

Some scammers like to get your information and payment as quickly as possible. Representatives from banks or companies will likely not pressure you to make a payment quickly.
 

How to report suspicious activity

If you think you’ve been scammed or are worried someone has taken your credit card details illegally, it’s important to report it as soon as possible. To report a potential scam you can:

Contact your credit card company


You should contact your credit card provider straight away, especially if you believe you have been scammed.

Report it to Action Fraud


Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. Their purpose is to collect information about scammers to send to the police.

Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Need more help?

Content correct at time of writing 27/02/23. 

John Lewis Finance is not responsible for content contained on external websites. This article is for promotional or information purposes only. You must not rely on it as advice. Please contact a financial adviser if you need advice before you buy a financial product or service.

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John Lewis plc is a credit broker and not a lender, introducing the Partnership Credit Card under exclusive arrangements with the lender NewDay Ltd.
John Lewis Finance is a trading name of John Lewis plc, registered in England with company number 233462, registered office: 1 Drummond Gate, Pimlico, London SW1V 2QQ. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 724309). Credit is provided by NewDay Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales with registered number 7297722, registered office: 7 Handyside Street, London, N1C 4DA. NewDay Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with number 690292 and is also authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (Ref no: 555318) for the provision of payment services.

Copyright © John Lewis Partnership
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