The top online scams in circulation across the UK have been revealed and Cumbria Trading Standards are making people aware of them.

While banks and building societies will often refund money lost through scams, it is not always guaranteed and the best way you can ensure your money is safe is to take steps to protect yourself from scams.

Here's a list of some of the scams that Cumbria Trading Standards have made the public aware of.

Business advertising scam

Always be cautious if you receive an unsolicited call from a person offering advertising space in a publication associated with a local fire or police force.

This type of scam is common. The publishers will usually associate themselves with a good cause such as the emergency services, youth or drug awareness to encourage placement of an order. Often the publication will exist but will only be distributed to a very small number of people. If you receive such a call please follow this advice:-

• Never agree to place an advert or article in a publication over the telephone unless you are sure about legitimacy of the publisher you are dealing with

• Ask questions: How did they get your number, can you see a copy of the brochure?

• Report any concerns to Trading Standards or the Police

If you receive an invoice for a listing/advert you do not believe you have ordered, write back stating this to be the case. Seek advice before making any payment.

You can report this scam or anything similar to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or Action Fraud, telephone 0300 123 2040.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail is warning people about various scams currently doing the rounds.

The latest scam involves a fake text message asking customers to settle a fee and provide their personal details.

The link leads to a web page which references a package number and asks for a full name and a date of birth.

Royal Mail has advised people not to click on the link.

NHS Covid vaccine email scam

Please continue to be cautious if you receive an email that looks to be from the NHS claiming you have been selected to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

The email contains a link to a website which then asks for your bank/card details. This is a scam

You will never be asked for a payment by the NHS, the vaccine is free.

Forward suspicious emails to

Supermarket scam

Cumbria Trading Standards shared news of a supermarket giveaway scam.

Fraudsters are sending out fake Sainsbury's emails.

Action Fraud received more than 500 reports of the scam in one week in January.

If you receive a suspicious email, you can report it by forwarding the email to - 

HMRC scam

Beware of fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC in the run up to the tax return deadline. If you get a text, email or call claiming to be HMRC about a tax rebate, penalty or asking for personal details, it's a scam.

Brexit scam

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has reported evidence of a text scam themed on the UK's exit from the European Union.

The text message reads: "we need to verify your identity to keep up with EU standards".

The message then instructs the recipient that "to avoid restrictions" they must visit a website to upload their personal details.

The text is part of a phishing scam attempting to use the United Kingdom's exit from the EU as a cover for stealing personal information.

In what is an extremely vulnerable time for millions of people, this scam hits the public at the same time that COVID-19-themed scams are active.

To report scams, contact Action Fraud, or if in Scotland, contact Police Scotland.

To report email scams, contact the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) by emailing For consumer advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133