In the past two years 69 per cent of people in Yorkshire and the Humber have been approached by a scammer, a recent Citizens Advice survey found, writes Kirklees Citizens Advice & Law Centre chief executive NICK WHITTINGHAM
Of those targeted, less than half spoke to anyone about it.
Under the slogan “Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware” Citizens Advice and Trading Standards are encouraging people to talk about their experiences and look out for others, particularly more vulnerable people.
More than half of all scams reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service in the last year didn’t happen online but included unsolicited doorstep selling, mail and cold calling, and saw people lose an average of almost £3,000.
Fraudsters using these methods are known to overwhelmingly target older, more vulnerable people.
Nick Whittingham CEO of Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre (KCALC) says: “We’re finding that although many people have come into contact with scammers, very few people are speaking up about this issue.
“People can sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed reporting their experiences, but sadly this means that criminals are getting away scot-free.”
“In reality, all of us can have the bad luck to be targeted by a scam. We hope that this Scams Awareness campaign will encourage people to share their stories and learn tips to stop scammers from taking people’s money.”
If you’re worried that someone you know has become victim to a scam, look out for the following.
Receiving more mail than usual?
Receiving unsolicited calls or spending more time on the phone?
Struggling with money or have they withdrawn large amounts of cash recently?
If you think someone you know is being scammed, take the following steps:
If you’re worried about telephone scams look at installing a call blocker
Encourage them to tell their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards
Report the scam to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or by phone on 03454 04 05 06.
They will give you advice on what to do next and report the scam to Trading Standards.
Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
If they’re struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts encourage them to visit or call KCALC at our contacts centres in Dewsbury or Huddersfield or by phone on 0344 848 7970
You can also take the following steps to safeguard yourself and others:
Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
Never send money to someone you’ve never met
Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you
Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away and if you feel pressured say “no”
Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call back
Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams and help others.
Help and advice is available at www.kcalc.org.uk or 0344 848 7970 (Open Monday – Friday 9am to 4.30pm).