[J]une is scams Awareness Month and the annual campaign aims to create a network of confident, alert consumers who ‘don’t miss a trick’ when it comes to scams.
Cumbria Trading Standards warns that scams are a growing problem and is encouraging consumers to be vigilant and report and talk about scams. The service is currently working in partnership with the National Scams Team and has recently returned cheques to Cumbrian consumers including over £20,000 to one victim who was targeted by fraudsters. This was as a result of post being intercepted by Royal Mail.
People need to be on their guard against financial and legal scams following a rise in cases reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service.
A total of 1,200 financial and legal scams were reported in the year ending April 2018 – a 6% increase on the year before. The average loss for these scams was £330.
It is estimated that 48% of people in the UK have been targeted by a scam, however only 5% are reported. Scams are a crime – report them every time.
To help stop more people being victims of these types of scams, Cumbria Trading Standards is sharing tips on how to spot them:
- Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
- Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away
- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
- Never send money to someone you have never met
- Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you
- Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance
- Genuine computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer
- Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call
- Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No Thank You”
- Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams
Cllr Celia Tibble, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards said: “The stakes are high with financial and legal scams as you can end up losing your life savings or pension fund. I am delighted that Cumbria Trading Standards have been able to return a substantial amount of money to our residents.
“While there might be new scams cropping up all the time, the tactics of scammers remain the same. When you get approached about any investment, don’t rush into anything without making sure it’s legitimate first, particularly when you’re contacted out of the blue.”
Anyone seeking further advice on scams can call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk
You can also report a scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk