How do I avoid being ripped off by a scam?

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1. Millions of cons

Every week listeners email You and Yours, telling us how they – or someone close to them – have been conned. Many of these scams are depressingly familiar, but new ones are emerging all the time.

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2015 there were an estimated 7.6 million cases of fraud and cybercrime in England and Wales alone. It means most people in the UK are now far more likely to be conned than burgled.

The frauds I’ve reported on are always built on trust. While we should not live in fear, by learning to spot if someone is not as trustworthy as they seem, many more of us could avoid being caught out.

2. Sophisticated scams

If you’ve received an email invoice from someone you know asking for the money you owe them, why would you think it was a scam? Well, as Georgia Morandi found out, it could be.

Winifred Robinson visits fraud victim Georgia Morandi.

It's thought someone hacked into the stove fitter's email account, logged on as him then messaged his customers asking them to make payments into another bank account. If you're caught out by this, it's far from certain you'll get your money back. So watch out for any requests for payment or to send expected payments elsewhere. It's worth ringing the person on a phone number you know to be genuine to check the details.

3. Means of attack

Click on the labels to find out more about the ways in which fraudsters try to target us.

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4. How to defend yourself

There are simple things you can do to avoid getting caught out. Here are some handy tips.

5. Would I spot a scam?

Do you think you can spot a scam? See how you get on in our quiz.

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Fraud by its nature is sneaky. The more a conman can find out about you in advance, the more likely it is you'll believe their story. So it's worth protecting your personal data. Shred documents. Think carefully about who you share your information with and how much you post on social media. If you give away enough information, a criminal can take out loans in your name without you even knowing. We should not be scared by all this, but we should be a little more suspicious and get better at doing the basic things that can help keep us safe.