Last Updated: 14 December 2009
I'm selling my car, and someone has offered me more than the asking price. Is this a scam?
If a deal seems too good to be true, it almost always is. Typically, the 'buyer' will tell you that his 'shipping agent' will pick up the car, and offers to pay by cheque. When the seller responds, he is told that a cheque has already been made out for more than the asking price, for an amount which includes the 'shipping fee' and asks the seller to send this 'fee' to the 'shipping agent' by money transfer or cheque. The seller will find that his payment cheque will bounce, while he is out of pocket for the 'shipping fee'.
I've just got a letter/phone call/scratchcard telling me that I've won a free holiday. Am I right to be suspicious?
Yes, you are entirely right to be suspicious. If you have not entered a competition to win something, you cannot possibly have 'won' it. Beware of 'free' holiday promotions that may be offered to you via scratch cards, cold calling or direct mailings. You will be told you have won a free holiday, usually a cruise or a holiday in the sun. You will have to pay some money upfront to secure your 'free' holiday, maybe for a second person to join you and maybe an administration fee. You will find that no holiday materialises. Some 'free' holidays will require you to go to another destination for departure and may require you to pay for accommodation etc.
I've received a very genuine-looking letter telling me that I've won the Spanish lottery. Could this be possible?
Think about the old slogan -if you're not in, you can't win i.e. if you haven't bought ticket for the Spanish lottery, then you haven't won it. Please do not respond-you have won nothing; this is a scam.