Speak out to help stop scams from spreading!
Date Added: 30/06/2015
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards team is calling on residents to expose scams and help stop more people from falling prey to clever cons that fleece them of thousands of pounds.
July is Scams Awareness Month and officers are encouraging residents to report scams or suspicious activities and get advice if they think they’ve been conned. Scams will continue to flourish when people stay silent; by reporting them it will help warn others and stop scams from spreading. Figures show that less than 5% of victims report scams to the authorities.
Scams come in every form, from doorstep sales to online investment offers. People may be targeted with “vishing” calls where a fraudster impersonates their bank to collect their bank details, or by bogus companies offering computer services. Online scams include dodgy job adverts and offers for goods and services, while mail scams may ask victims to pay a fee in order to claim their winnings from a prize draw they haven’t entered.
Officers are asking residents to keep two things in mind when they receive an unsolicited approach or when they are looking for goods or services: don’t be rushed and don’t be hushed. People should take their time to make a decision and get their facts together before parting with their money or personal information, and speak out when they think they’ve spotted a scam.
“Scams thrive on silence. Fraudsters know that victims are often too ashamed to share what happened to them, meaning that scams can continue to spread unchecked. We’re urging people to lift the lid on scams and start talking about suspicious email, junk mail, online ads or door-to-door sellers operating in their area.
“Scams are run by professional con artists and it can be very hard to know what to look out for. Our advice is that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re contacted out of the blue be on your guard, and never give your bank details out unless you are certain you know who the person is, and that you can trust them. If you think you have been scammed, report it to the Trading Standards team, via Citizens Advice, who will also be able to provide help, by calling 03454 040506.”
Top tips for avoiding scams
? If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
? It you haven’t bought a ticket – you can’t win it
? You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize
? If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up
? Contacted out of the blue? – be suspicious.
? Don’t be rushed – resist pressure to make a decision straight away.
? Never send money to someone you have never met.
? Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance.
? Your bank will never attend your home to collect cash, your pin, payment card or chequebook if you are a victim of fraud.
? Your bank will never phone you to ask for your PIN or your online banking password.
? Your bank will never ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons.
• Suspect a phone scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call your bank.
? Genuine computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.
? Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams.