Blue badge: Parking scheme open to people with with invisible disabilities

Keys and a disabled badge.

GETTY IMAGESIt’s the first time people with hidden disabilities will be able to apply for a blue badge parking permit

People with hidden disabilities like autism, dementia or anxiety can apply for a blue badge parking permit in England.

A blue badge permit means the user can park in designated disabled bays. This usually means that they can park closer to their destination.

Scotland and Wales have already introduced similar rules to include some non physical conditions, but the rules have not yet been changed in Northern Ireland.

It’s not just for adults, as parents can apply for a badge if they have a child in the family with a disability too.

You will have seen special marked disabled parking spots at supermarkets and so on, but the idea of blue badges is that they allow people who need them to park closer to where they need to be, to make access easier.

The guidance was issued by the Department for Transport (DfT), a branch of the government and begins on the 30th August.

Local councils will still have the final say on who does and who doesn’t qualify for a blue badge.

Around 2.35 million blue badges have been issued in the UK to people who have physical mobility difficulties or are registered blind.

It’s not known how many people will qualify under the new rules.

Disabled parking bay.

A charity called Scope said that these changes “could make a real difference for many disabled people with invisible impairments”.

They also said that more needs to be done to make sure there are more blue badge spaces to meet the increase in demand.

The government said it would provide an extra £1.7 million to help councils cope with the bigger demand for spaces.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he hoped the change would make “a real difference to people’s lives”.

Student finance: What you need to know

As an undergraduate student you can apply for tuition fee and maintenance loans to pay for course fees and living costs. Depending on where you live in the UK, where you want to study and your personal circumstances, you may be eligible for grants and bursaries, too. Loan support is also available for certain postgraduate courses.

How much does university or college cost?

The maximum tuition fee that publicly-funded universities and colleges in England can charge students living in England taking full-time undergraduate courses annually is £9,250 for the current, 2018/19, academic year.

For the 2019/20 academic year, the same £9,250 maximum tuition fee will apply to students living in England studying at universities and colleges in England that have registered with the Office for Students, the new Regulator for Higher Education in England, as Approved (Fee Cap) providers.

In addition, students living in England starting full-time undergraduate accelerated degree courses at Approved (Fee Cap) providers in England in the 2019/20 academic year, from 1 August 2019 onwards can be charged up to £11,100 in tuition fees.

You can apply for a tuition fee loan to cover the full cost of your undergraduate course at a publicly-funded institution in England or, from 2019/20, at an Approved (Fee Cap) provider in England. If you live in England and are studying on a full-time undergraduate course at a publicly funded university in Scotland or Northern Ireland or a regulated university in Wales, you can apply for a tuition fee loan to meet the full costs of your tuition.Further information is provided on the .GOV.UK website.

If you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, different maximum fee limits may apply and your nation’s student finance agency may cover some or all of your tuition fee costs.

If you live in Scotland, tuition fee rates for full-time undergraduate courses at publicly funded Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are regulated by the Scottish Government and are currently set at £1,820. Eligible Scottish domiciled students can apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for full payment of their tuition fees, paid directly to the HEI.

This tuition fee support does not apply to postgraduate courses or courses run by Private HEIs in Scotland, as the tuition fee rates for such courses are not regulated by the Scottish Government and HEIs are free to set their own fee rate. Varying levels of support from SAAS are available in this respect.Further information is provided on the SAAS website.

If you live in Wales and are studying at a Regulated University in Wales, the maximum tuition fee you can be charged in 2018/19 and 2019/20 for a full-time course is £9,000. You can apply for a tuition fee loan issued by Student Finance Wales to meet the full costs of your tuition.Further information is provided on the Student Finance Wales website

If you live in Northern Ireland and are studying at a publicly funded university in Northern Ireland the maximum tuition fee you can be charged for a full-time course is £4,160 in 2018/19 and £4,275 in 2019/20. You can apply to for a tuition fee loan issued by Student Finance Northern Ireland to meet the full costs of your tuition.Further information is provided on the Student Finance NI website.

If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and are studying on a full-time undergraduate course at a publicly funded university in England (2018/19) or at an Approved (Fee Cap) provider in England (2019/20), the same maximum fee limits that apply to students living in England will apply for your course. You can apply for a tuition fee loan to meet the full costs of your tuition.

Tuition fee loans go directly to your university or college and not to your bank account. You only start repaying these, along with any maintenance loans you have taken out, once you’ve completed your studies and started earning above a certain amount.

Maximum fee limits do not apply to (i) privately funded universities or colleges offering undergraduate courses in England in 2018/19 or (ii) universities and colleges that have registered with the Office for Students as Approved Providers in England for the 2019/20 academic year. If you are living in England and are studying on a course at the above universities or colleges, you will qualify for a lower rate of tuition fee loan than students studying at publicly funded universities or colleges in 2018/19 or at Approved (Fee Cap) providers in 2019/20.

If you have received funding for previous undergraduate study, you should contact your nation’s student finance agency, as different funding rules may apply.

Financial support for English students

There are two types of loan available to English undergraduate students studying at an English university or college, a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan. Separate support arrangements apply to students undertaking postgraduate master’s degree and doctoral degree courses.

Tuition Fee Loan

This is the loan that covers the cost of your course tuition fees. It’s paid to your college or university, and you pay it back once you finish your course and start earning above a certain amount.

Full time undergraduate students can get loans of up to £9,250 if they are studying at a publicly funded university or college in 2018/29 or at an Approved (Fee Cap) provider in 2019/20. Full-time undergraduate students starting an accelerated degree course at an Approved (Fee Cap) provider in 2019/20 from 1 August 2019 onwards can apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £11,100 to meet the full costs of their tuition.

Full time undergraduate students at a private university or college in 2018/19 or at an Approved Provider in 2019/20 can get up to £6,165 in tuition fee loan towards the costs of their tuition. Full-time undergraduate students starting an accelerated degree course at an Approved provider in 2019/20 from 1 August 2019 onwards can apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £7,400 towards the costs of their tuition.Further information is provided on the .GOV.UK website.

Maintenance Loan

This loan is a contribution towards your living costs while you are attending your full-time undergraduate course at University. If you are undertaking your course by distance learning, in most cases, you will not qualify for a maintenance loan.

The exact amount you can get will depend on your household income.

Full-time student2018 to 2019 academic year2019 to 2020 academic year
Living at homeUp to £7,324Up to £7,529
Living away from home, outside LondonUp to £8,700Up to £8,944
Living away from home, in LondonUp to £11,354Up to £11,672
You spend a year of a UK course studying abroadUp to £9,963Up to £10,242

A quick way of working out what you’ll get is to use the Student Finance Calculator

If you have additional costs while studying as a result of a disability, you may qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowance. The amount you are entitled to is not based on your household income.

If you have adults of children who are dependent on you, you may qualify for additional grants which are based on your household income.Further information is available on the .GOV.UK website.

Tuition Fee Loans for part-time undergraduate students from England

You might be able to receive a tuition fee loan if your course has a ‘course intensity’ of 25% or more for each academic year and for the whole course.

The level of course intensity depends on how much of your course you complete each year compared to an equivalent full-time course. You’ll need to check the course intensity with your university or college.

If eligible, part-time undergraduate students can apply for:

  • a tuition fee loan of up to £6,935 per year at a publicly funded university or college in 2018/19 or at an Approved (Fee Cap) provider in 2019/20.
  • Disabled Students’ Allowance, where applicable.

Lower rates of tuition fee loans apply to part-time undergraduate students studying on courses at private universities or colleges in 2018/19 or at Approved Providers in 2019/20.Further information is available on the .GOV.UK website.

Maintenance loans for part-time undergraduate students from England

If you attending a part-time bachelor’s degree or equivalent course starting on or after 1 August 2018 (known as a ‘level 6’ higher education course) you may qualify for a part-time maintenance loan towards your living costs. The maximum rates of loan are the same as those for full-time undergraduate courses but the amount you will qualify for will depend on where you are living and studying and the intensity of study on your part-time course when compared to that on a full-time course.Further information is available on the .GOV.UK website.

Part-time maintenance loans are not available for levels 4 and 5 courses (e.g. Foundation Degree, HND) or for part-time courses undertaken by distance learning.

Postgraduate master’s students from England

If you plan to start a postgraduate master’s degree and are aged 59 years or under, you might be eligible to receive a loan of up to £10,609 in 2018/19 (or up to £10,906 for new students in 2019/20) to contribute to your course and living costs.

You’ll only make repayments when you earn over the salary threshold, which is currently £21,000 per year.

Further information is available on the .GOV.UK website.

Postgraduate doctoral students from England

If you plan to start a postgraduate doctoral degree and are aged 59 years or under, you might be eligible to receive a loan of up to £25,000 in 2018/19 (or up to £25,700 for new students in 2019/20) to contribute to your course and living costs.

You’ll only make repayments when you earn over the salary threshold, which is currently £21,000 per year.

Further information is available on the .GOV.UK website.

Financial support for Scottish students

Full-time Undergraduate support

Tuition Fee Support

Eligible Scottish domiciled and EU students can apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for payment of their tuition fees. The availability of funds varies depending on the mode of study:

  • Degree or equivalent at a publicly funded Scottish HEI – Full tuition fee contribution of £1,820
  • HNC/HND or equivalent at a publicly funded Scottish HEI – Full tuition fee contribution of £1,285
  • Higher Education courses at a Private provider in Scotland – Tuition fee contribution of £1,205
  • Studying at a publicly funded HEI in the rest of the UK (rUK) – Tuition fee loan of up to £9,250
  • Studying an accelerated degree course at a publicly funded HEI in rUK – Tuition fee loan of up to £11,100 from AY 2019/20

The amount you can get varies depending on your household’s income.

Dependent students*

Household incomeBursaryLoanTotal
£0 to £18,999£1,875£5,750£7,625
£19,000 to £23,999£1,125£5,750£6,875
£24,000 to £33,999£500£5,750£6,250
£34,000 and above£0£4,750£4,750

Independent students**

Household incomeBursaryLoanTotal
£0 to £18,999£875£6,750£7,625
£19,000 to £23,999£0£6,750£6,750
£24,000 to £33,999£0£6,750£6,250
£34,000 and above£0£4,750£4,750

*single students under the age of 25 with no dependent children
**students over the age of 25

Some courses, such as Medicine at St Andrews, sandwich courses and when studying abroad, can affect your financial support. There’s more information on the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website.

If you’re doing a Dentistry BDS, there is also a Dentistry Student Support Grant (DSSG).

Part time students

Scottish domiciled students can access the Part-time fee grant (PTFG), which gives help each year towards the cost of your tuition fees. The level of tuition fee paid will depend on the number of credits you do and the qualification you are studying.

The maximum fee grant we can award is:

  • £1,805 for publicly funded degree level courses,
  • £1,820 for eligible 120 credit university courses which are not campus based,
  • £1,274 for publicly funded Higher National awards (HNC, HND),
  • £1,195 for all courses at private providers.

Postgraduate students

Scottish domiciled and EU students undertaking any ‘taught’ postgraduate course up to master’s level (including distance learning and part time courses) can apply to SAAS for a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Scottish domiciled students can also access a living-cost loan of up to £4,500 (including distance learning courses).

Funding for part-time postgraduate courses is limited for ones which can be completed at no less than 50% of the pace of the equivalent full-time course. If there is no full-time course, the part-time postgraduate course must be completed in less than three years.

Funding is not available for any part-time postgraduate course delivered outside of Scotland. Full-time postgraduate courses delivered outside Scotland will only be eligible for funding if there is no equivalent course available at a Scottish institution.

The Scottish Government does not currently provide student loans for Research Masters and PhD level courses.

Other funding for Scottish students

Depending on your circumstances, here are some other ways of getting financial support.

Care experience bursary and grant is available for full time students who have been looked after by a Local Authority and are under 26.

Living cost grant for lone parents and those with adult dependants, who they act as a carer for.

Disabled student’s allowance is available for those with disability or learning difficulties.

Discretionary Funds are there to provide assistance e.g. with housing or travel costs, for students who experience financial difficulty accessing or remaining in higher education.

Discretionary Childcare Funds provide help towards the cost of formal registered childcare costs.Find out more about other financial support in Scotland

Financial support for Welsh students

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Need to know

Grants don’t usually have to be paid back unless you leave the course early, but you do have to pay back any loans you borrow.

You’ll only repay the loan element of the tuition fee once you’re earning over the income threshold after you graduate. This is currently £25,000 per year.

Help with living costs for new students

Welsh students starting a university course in September 2019 can apply for new grants and loans. The support is open to first-time undergraduate full and part-time students.

While all new students will get some financial support, the amount you can receive in loans and grants varies based on your household’s income and where you will be living during term time. The tables below show how much you’ll get in different situations.

Living with your parents

Household incomeGrantLoan
£18,370 or less£6,885£955
£25,000£5,930£1,910
£35,000£4,488£3,352
£45,000£3,047£4,793
£45,001 or more£1,000£6,840

The total for students living with their parents in loans and grants is £7,840.

Living away from home, studying outside London

Household incomeGrantLoan
£18,370 or less£8,100£1,125
£25,000£6,947£2,278
£35,000£5,208£4,017
£45,000£3,469£7356
£45,001 or more£1,000£8,225

The total for students living away from home outside of London in loans and grants is £9,225.

Living away from home, studying in London

Household incomeGrantLoan
£18,370 or less£10,124£1,406
£25,000£8,643£2,887
£35,000£6,408£5,112
£45,000£4,174£7,356
£45,001 or more£1,000£10,530

The total for students living away from home in London in loans and grants is £11,530.

Part-time students will get support pro-rata based on the course intensity with a maximum from grants and loans of £4,987.50

Postgraduate master’s students can get a postgraduate loan of £13,000 if studying anywhere in the UK, and will get around £4,000 extra for studying in Wales.

Postgraduate doctoral students aged 59 years of under can get a postgraduate loan of up to £25,000 if studying anywhere in the UK to contribute to your course and living costs.

You’ll only make repayments when you earn over the salary threshold, which is currently £21,000 per year.Further information is available on the Student Finance Wales website.?

Need to know

The Welsh Government partial cancellation scheme means you could also get up to £1,500 to reduce your maintenance loan when you make your first loan repayment. You can also read more about repaying your student loan on our website.

Tuition Fee Loan

You can apply for a tuition fee loan that will help cover the course fees. It’s paid directly to your university or college and eligibility isn’t based on your household income. You can borrow however much your fees are up to the below amounts. If it’s more, you’ll need to find the money from somewhere else.

Where you’re studyingFull timePart-time
Studying at a public university or college in Wales£9,000£2,625
Studying at a public university or college in England, Northern Ireland or Scotland£9,250£6,935
Studying at a private university or college in England, Northern Ireland or Scotland£6,165£4,625

If you started your course before September 2018, you will carry on receiving support within your existing package.

Grants for childcare, dependants and disabled students

There is also further support for students who have children or dependents, or who have a disability. The full details can be found on the Student Finance Wales website.Find out more about financial support for Welsh students on the Student Finance Wales website

Financial support for students of Northern Ireland

There are two types of non-repayable financial support if you’re from Northern Ireland and studying in the UK called Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant.

You can only get one of the grants, not both, and the amount you get depends on your household income.

You can apply for both when you apply for your Student Loan. While both grants give you same amount, one key difference is that a Maintenance Grant will reduce how much student loan you can get. Here’s more about the difference, to help you decide which one is best for you.

Special Support Grant

Instead of replacing part of your Student Loan, this grant is paid on top. So you’ll get your full student loan, and then won’t need to pay back the amount you get from the Special Support Grant.

It’s also not counted as income if you’re getting income-related benefits.

You’ll likely qualify for the Special Support Grant if:

  • you’re a single parent
  • you have a partner who is also a student
  • you have a disability or learning difficulties.
Household incomeGrant amount
Less than £19,203£3,475
£19,204 to £41,065Partial grant
£41,066 and overNot eligible for grant

Maintenance Grant

This grant replaces part of the Student Loan for Maintenance, so if you receive the full £3,475 grant, you’ll receive £3,475 less in your loan.

Household incomeGrant amount
Less than £19,203£3,475
£19,204 to £41,065Partial grant
£41,066 and overNot eligible for grant

For more information got to Student Finance NI.

Managing your budget

While bursaries and grants don’t need to be paid back, student loans and maintenance loans do. You’ll have a limited amount of money and won’t want to add to your loans if possible.

This means it’s important that you plan how to use your money effectively to help with the day-to-day costs of being a student.

Remember: Nothing you borrow to fund your student life is free money!Find out more information in your guide to Budgeting for college or university.

How repaying your student loan works

For courses funded by student finance in England or Wales from September 2012, you’ll only have to start making repayments once you begin earning £25,725+ a year.

In Northern Ireland and Scotland, loan repayments only start once you’re earning over £18,330 a year.

Your employer will automatically deduct these payments from your salary.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll make repayments through your self-assessment tax returns.

If you haven’t repaid the loan in full 30 years after your first payment, the remaining balance is written off.

Students often forget that they have to pay back their maintenance loans as well as tuition fee loans, once they’ve begun earning a certain amount.

This can come as a shock once you see the first monthly deduction, so be prepared.

ENERGY PRICE WAR

BIG 6 ENERGY PRICE WAR – SAVE £340/YR
British Gas launches its cheapest deal in over a year (existing customers can get it too), and other giants have fought back

Since January, the price of the cheapest energy deals has dropped by £100+/yr based on typical use. There was a time only small players cut prices, but now the giants have entered the fray.

In April and early May, BOOM, British Gas cut the cost of its cheapest deal five times. Then, POW, two weeks ago E.on hit back cutting costs. Last Friday, KAZAM, BG cut its price again, and yesterday, ZAP, E.on responded. Plus EDF now has a cheap 2yr fix. Yet YOU MUST CHOOSE THE CHEAP DEALS, THEY’RE NOT AUTOMATIC.

Most customers with a biggie have prices ‘capped’ as they’re on a standard tariff, but these still typically cost £340/yr more than a cheap deal. So we’ve listed the latest offers below (not for prepay or in NI, sadly). The links take you to a comparison to check they’re right for you as prices vary by use and region – and via us, all give £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback. Compare these to the £1,254/yr standard price on the same use.

  • British Gas 1yr fix (and it’s green).Avg £916/yr on typical use, save £340/yr. This is very cheap for BG, and as its Energy Plus Protection Green Jun 2020 tariff is fixed, the rate won’t change for a year. Plus existing customers qualify. Yet it’s a DON’T ASK, DON’T GET deal, only via comparison sites.

    It also has 100% renewable electricity and 100% offset gas, so it’s green. Plus most get a year’s heating cover for free (it charges after, so cancel then if you don’t want it).

  • E.on’s 1yr fix is cheaper for some. Avg £912/yr on typical use, save £340/yr.E.on’s cut on its Fix Online Exclusive v3 tariff makes it marginally cheaper than BG based on typical use, but it’s only for new customers.  Like BG, it’s only available via comparison sites.

  • Lock in for TWO YEARS with EDF. Avg £987/yr on typical usage, save £270/yr. EDF has also joined the energy price war. Its Easy Online Exclusive Jul21 deal, which launched last week, is the cheapest 2yr fix – in fact, there hasn’t been any such deal cheaper in 7mths.

    You get the surety of no price hikes for at least 2yrs – good if you don’t want to switch often – but you won’t benefit if rates drop elsewhere. It’s for new AND existing customers, but only via the MoneySupermarket Group (which we’re part of).

  • Bulb – the greenest of the cheap deals (there are cheaper and there are greener, but this is the best combo).Avg £945/yr on typical use, save £300/yr. The Bulb Vari-Fair tariff has 100% renewable electricity, 10% of its gas is from renewable sources, and it pays to offset the rest. It also has a good service record – receiving a 76% ‘great’ rating in our service poll.

    The deal is variable, so the price could rise or fall (Bulb’s last two moves have been cuts) yet if it rises, you can leave penalty-free. Also see our new Green Energy Guide for what these ‘green’ terms mean.

  • You can beat these prices a little if you go for names you may not know. Many of you tell us you want to avoid smaller suppliers, especially as nine have gone bust in the past year, and you instead look for big firms or those with a good service record. But if you’re simply determined to get the cheapest, find your winner via an Energy Club comparison.

PS: Switching energy is easy. No one visits your home (unless it’s to install a smart meter), and it’s the same gas, same electricity, even the same safety. The only things that change are price and service. See our Switching FAQs for more help.

Travel credit card

Image result for family vacation jpg

Consistently UNBEATABLE exchange rates providing you repay IN FULL

Most debit & credit cards add a 3% load to the perfect rates the banks get, meaning £100 of euros costs you £103. All these cards are load-free worldwide, so you get untouchably good rates in every country, every time. Set up a direct debit to repay IN FULL to minimise interest. Full info in Cheap Travel Cards.

Image result for travel images jpg

Are they easy to get? Use our eligibility calculator to find which card you’ve the best chance of getting.GOOD FOR CASH WITHDRAWALS

No fees to exchange or withdraw cash, plus 0.25% cashback, until August 2023. Full info.

Rep APR: 21.9%

ATM: 0%GOOD FOR SPENDING*

No fees to exchange, zero ATM fee and low cash withdrawal interest. Plus, earn 0.5% cashback. Full info.

Rep APR: 18.9%

ATM: 0%LONG-TERM BEST BUY*

No fees to exchange, zero ATM fee and low cash withdrawal interest. Full info.

Rep APR: 19.9%

ATM: 0%BEST IF YOU’VE POOR CREDIT*

No fees to exchange, plus 0.5% cashback on all spending. 3% (min £3) ATM fee. Full info.

Rep APR: 34.9%

ATM: 3%

Important! How this site works

TravelMoneyMax.com is part of MoneySavingExpert.com, a website is based on journalistic research. It does not constitute financial advice. Any information should be considered in regard to specific circumstances. All tips are followed at your own risk and should be followed up with your own research.

  • Bureaux are included based on their competitive online rates and feedback. Yet there is little regulation of foreign exchange bureaux and this site can’t take any responsibility for problems that occur. Please be careful before you part with your money.
  • We don’t as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned (how likely they are to go bust), but there is a risk any company can struggle and it’s rarely made public until it’s too late.
  • Small local specialists can beat online rates, yet it’s rare. Try areas with many overseas visitors e.g. Bayswater. If you spot another competitive online provider that you think merits inclusion, let us know.
  • We often link to other websites, but we can’t be responsible for their content.

TravelMoneyMax.com is brought to you by MoneySavingExpert.com. This website is based on journalistic research. It does not constitute financial advice. Any information should be considered in regard to specific circumstances. All tips are followed at your own risk and should be followed up with your own research . See Full Terms &Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Explanation (of * links): Go via any link with a * by it and a contribution may be made to MoneySavingExpert.com, which helps it stay free to use. You shouldn’t notice any difference, the links don’t impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by it. If it isn’t possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it’s still included in exactly the same way. As we believe transparency is important, we’re including the following ‘un-affiliated’ web-addresses for the same things: aqua, , HalifaxTandem . Read more about how this site is financed.

MoneySavingExpert.com is part of the MoneySupermarket Group, but is entirely editorially independent. Its stance of putting consumers first is protected and enshrined in the legally-binding MSE Editorial Code.

Please read the Full Terms & ConditionsPrivacy PolicyCookies Q&AHow this site is financed and MSE’s Editorial Code.

Guide to Scams

A beginner’s guide to scams

Image result for scams jpg

Scams are getting more and more sophisticated, particularly when it comes to targeting you online and through mobile devices. In this guide we take a look at how you can recognise a scam, protect yourself and what to do if you’re a victim or have been targeted.

What is a scam?
Types of scam
How to recognise a scam
How to protect yourself against scams
What should you do if you’ve been the victim of a scam?
What is a scam?
Scams can come in many forms, but all are designed to get hold of your money.

They can do this by getting you to reveal your personal details, stealing your information, or even getting you to willingly hand over the cash.

The key is knowing how to recognise a scam, protect yourself and what to do if you think you’ve been targeted or have fallen victim.

Types of scam
The tactics used by scammers and fraudsters can vary from someone coming to your front door to an unexpected phone call.

The internet and advances in digital communications have opened other ways for scammers to target you and steal information.

Chances are, you’ve come across the most common type of scams – the spam email from a Nigerian prince or reporting to be from HMRC or your bank.

However, while email scams can be quite easy to spot and avoid, others are much more sophisticated.

Find out more about the different types of scams, how to spot them and what to do if you’ve been targeted.
How to recognise a scam
Knowing what to be on the lookout for when it comes to scams is one of the best ways to protect yourself.

Unsolicited or unexpected contact. If you have received any kind of contact, but particularly a phone call, out of the blue, it is best to avoid it. Since January 2019, there has been a ban on cold calling about pensions. This means you should not be contacted by any company about your pension unless you’ve asked them to.
Email address. If you get an email, expand the pane at the top of the message and see exactly who it has come from. If it is a scam, the email address the message has come from will be filled in with random numbers, or be misspelled.
Is it a scam?
The FCA’s ScamSmart website has a tool to help you check if an investment or pension opportunity is a scam.

There’s also lots more information about avoiding the latest scams. Visit the ScamSmart website.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This is something you normally find with pension or investment scams, where the fraudster guarantees you huge returns, but tells you it is low risk.
Personal details, PIN codes and passwords. These are things no legitimate company will ask you for.
Quick decisions. If you are pushed into making a decision on the spot, be suspicious. Scammers don’t want you to have time to think about it.
Random competitions, particularly if you don’t remember entering them, should ring alarm bells.
You can find a more comprehensive list of the warning signs for specific types of scams on this page.
How to protect yourself against scams?
Did you know?
Scammers can hijack phone lines. If you think you’re being targeted, hang up the phone, wait five minutes and then call your bank directly. Find out more what you can do to stop fraud on the Take Five website.

The next step to avoiding scams is to know how to protect yourself. While some of these are good advice in general, many are aimed at keeping you safe online:

Avoid any unexpected contact. Any phone calls, letters, emails or people knocking on your door should be ignored.
Never give out personal information. This can be used to steal your identity and access accounts.
Keep operating system and virus protection software up-to-date. Don’t ignore updates as these can often include patches to protect against new kinds of scams, viruses and ransomware. This goes for mobile devices as well.
Make sure all accounts have a strong password. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts and change them regularly.
Don’t make any advanced payments until you are sure the company you’re dealing with is legitimate.
If you’re unsure about a financial services company, check the FCA register of regulated companies. If they’re not on it, don’t have anything to do with them.
If you’re unsure about any other kind of company, you can look them up on Companies House to find out their background, or search for reviews online.
Use safe and secure WiFi connections and avoid public WiFi. Your standard 3G or 4G connection is often more secure than the one in the coffee shop or restaurant.


Make sure any websites you are using are secure. Check to see if the web address starts with HTTPS, not just HTTP.
Sign-up for a call blocking service like the Telephone Preference Service. This might not stop all scam calls as they operate outside the legal guidelines, but it will stop cold-callers. This means any suspicious or unexpected calls you do receive are almost certainly from people you don’t want to deal with.
What should you do if you’ve been the victim of a scam?
If you think you’ve been scammed there are three things you need to do:

Stop sending money straight away. If the payment has been set up as a Direct Debit, get in touch with your bank to stop this immediately.
Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, use the Action Fraud online reporting tool, or the FCA Scam Smart website.
Beware of follow-up scams. Sometimes after reporting a scam you might get targeted again by a fraudster who says they can get your money back.
Check your credit file for free through, Credit Karma, MSE Credit Club, and ClearScore. You’re best to check it monthly for credit applications done by a fraudster. See if there are applications for credit you don’t recognise, or if you have a Cifas marker on your file. If your bank believes you’ve been a victim of fraud if could put a Cifas ‘Victim of impersonation’ note on your account. It warns lenders that you’ve been a victim, or are vulnerable to becoming, a victim of fraud. If you have a Cifas marker on your file, request more information about why from Cifas.
If you think you’ve been targeted by a scam, you should also report it so it can be investigated. You can do this through the Financial Conduct Authority website using their reporting form