Dumfries & Galloway Citizens Advice Service is urging local people to join the fight against scams and fraudsters and is supporting people to be aware of the risks and seek advice.
Cold calls, high-pressure sales tactics and automated voicemails asking for people’s details are just some of the tricks scammers are using to rob people of their hard earned money, and D&G CAS want to stop people falling prey to scams by following a simple rule - get advice, report it, and tell others about it.
A spokesperson for D&G CAS said: “Fraud victims pay a heavy price losing billions of pounds every year. Scams targeting people by phone or post alone cost people in the UK an estimated UK £5 billion each year.
Informing the authorities and warning others is the only sure fire way of stopping scams, but people can be hesitant to even tell their friends and family.
“Our Bureaux in Stranraer, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Annan offer advice on speaking up about a scam which is key to getting them closed down, and on how to go about reporting suspected fraud to the authorities.”
Sue Irving, Chief Executive of D&G CAS said:
“Scams come in a variety of guises and we see new ones emerging all the time. However, there are common hallmarks to every scam and we’re keen to show local people what to look out for so they don’t fall prey to a fraudster.
“There is even a CAB scam where local people have received phone calls allegedly from a CAB wanting their financial information to offer debt advice. CABs never cold call so we urge people not to fall for this trick.
“Reporting suspicious offers and incidents of fraud is vital to getting scams closed down. If you think you’ve been contacted by a con artist or have been the victim of scam, seek advice and report it to the authorities.
“Scams are more common than most people realise and we regularly hear from people who have lost money this way. Some scams are one-offs that persuade you to part with a lump sum, while others go after your personal details so they can access your money or copy your identity.
“We’re asking people to help us tackle scams by getting to know the common signs, warning others, and reporting incidents to Trading Standards so they can investigate.”
FOUR SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO ABOUT A SCAM
1.GET ADVICE. Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or www.adviceguide.org.uk.
2.CHECK. Unexpected calls, letters, and online contacts with someone you trust.
3.REPORT IT. For both scams and suspected scams, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk
4.TELL a friend, neighbour or relative about any scams you become aware of.
Other key messages
Ways to spot signs of a scam
The call, letter, e-mail or text has come out of the blue.
You’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about.
You didn’t buy a ticket (you can’t win a competition you didn’t enter!)
They are asking you to send money in advance.
They are saying you have to respond quickly.
They are telling you to keep it a secret.
They seem to be offering you something for nothing.
If it seems too good to be true it probably is!
How to protect yourself better against scams
Never give out contact details like your name, phone number or address to strangers or to people who should have this information already.
Never give financial information or details of your identity, bank accounts or credit card to strangers or to the businesses that should already hold your details.
Shred anything with your personal or bank details on – don’t just throw it away.
If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up.
Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No thank you.”
Resist pressure to make a decision straight away.
Never send money to someone you don’t know.
Walk away from job adverts that ask for money in advance.
Ask friends, neighbours or family about whether an offer is likely to be a scam.
For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Sue Irving, Chief Executive of D&G CAS, on 0300 303 4321.