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A scam is designed to make you think you will benefit from something when you will actually lose out. Whether you are a consumer or a business you may receive a telephone call, e-mail, letter or fax which convinces you to part with your money. There are hundreds of types of scam, all with the same objective – to con you out of your money.

Common scams include fake lotteries, prize draws and get rich quick schemes. They may appear legitimate and often you do not realise you have been ripped off until it is too late. We will give you advice on how to spot a scam and what you can do to protect yourself.

You can register FREE with the Mailing Preference Service and the Telephone Preference Service, who will try to reduce the amount of scam mail and calls that you receive.

Visit the Which? page to take the email scams quiz to see if you can tell a genuine email from a scam.

Scams can often be targeted at older members of our community; the Think Jessica campaign has details and advice on scam mail.

The National Trading Standards scams team also have a Friends Against Scams campaign, where you can find out more about how to stand up to this problem.

If you feel that you are being targeted with scam mail, please contact us on 0808 250 5050 (free call) or email Trading Standards for advice.