This page explains some common scams to look out for and provides you with tips on staying safe.

Dealing with suspicious emails and text messages

You may receive a text message or email from a cyber-criminal pretending to be someone, or an organisation you trust.

Otherwise known as ‘Phishing’ (email) and ‘Smishing’ (text), these messages often include a link, which if clicked on, could leave your computer or device vulnerable to dangerous viruses, or expose your passwords and personal details.

Cyber Criminals will often look to exploit emotions such as fear, greed, pity, or embarrassment, and create a sense of urgency, to entice you to click immediately on their malicious link or attachment.


Tips on how to spot a phishing email

Generic non-personal greetings such as simply 'Hi' or 'Dear Customer'

Playing on emotions such as 'You've won a big cash prize' or 'Payment required'

Urgency such as 'respond immediately' or ‘deadline tomorrow'

Errors such as poor spelling & grammar

Unusual looking email address or websites Professional emails will not be from private Gmail or Hotmail address


Scam Calls

It is sometimes difficult to spot a scam before it is too late. Fraudsters are experts at impersonating people, organisations, your bank, HMRC and the Police. They target everyone and use many sophisticated and opportunistic ways to get hold of your money or sensitive information.

Stop, Think and Consider whether the request is genuine. 

  • Take time to think about what they are saying and disconnect the call if you are unsure.
  • Never give out your full online banking PIN, passcode, or password. BLME would never ask you for this information.
  • If you believe the call may be genuine, call the organisation back on a telephone number you have found from an official source.
  • Never give out your full online banking PIN, passcode, or password. BLME would never ask you for this information.


Protecting your personal data

Posting on social media sites

  • Before posting on social media, think about who can see it and how it could be used against you.
  • Whilst it might be tempting to think of social media as a relaxed or free platform, keep in mind that cyber criminals may be watching.
  • Innocent information such as birthdays, details on family and friends or even a pet’s name, can lead you cause issues if you use them as, or part of your passwords.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has guides for setting privacy controls on the biggest social media platforms.


Keep your devices secure

  • Protect your information by enabling the screen lock and passcode on your mobile device or tablet.
  • Make sure you keep your devices, anti-virus, and web browsers up to date with the latest software updates to protect you from known vulnerabilities.


Use strong passwords or passphrases to protect your accounts

Your password is the key to your information. Use these tips to stay secure!

  • Length = strength when combined with numbers-, upper- and lower-case letters and special characters
  • Don’t reuse passwords across multiple sites
  • Enable 2 factor authentication where possible
  • Your email account is often used as a mechanism to reset other passwords and will include lots of your personal information.
  • Keep your inbox protected with a strong password.

For more information

Take 5 - National campaign offering straight forward, impartial advice on how to avoid scams

Action Fraud - You can report a crime or get general advice from Action Fraud

Cyber Aware - Government advice on how to stay safe online

FCA’s ScamSmart - Part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s website has information and resources to help you avoid investment and pension scams