1 in 3 people in the North West have been the target of a scam since lockdown came into effect across the country, according to data from Citizens Advice.
67% of people are worried someone they know will fall foul of a con. And an overwhelming majority, 90%, reported they felt wary of coronavirus scams in particular.
Citizens Advice Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford is encouraging people to talk about their experiences and look out for others they think could be at risk at the beginning of Scams Awareness Fortnight.
Jonathan Yates, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford said:
Our data shows that the last few months have been very difficult for a lot of people across Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford. And despite this, we’ve seen appalling evidence of opportunistic scammers taking advantage of people’s worries and concerns.
“It’s really important we all do our bit and report anything that looks like a con when we see it. By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks.”
To help stop more people in the North West being fleeced by these types of scams, Citizens Advice Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford has shared the following tips on how to spot them:
If you’re worried you, or someone you know, could be getting scammed take the following steps:
- Look into installing a call blocker to help combat telephone scams
- Talk to your or their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards
- Report the scam to Citizens Advice who 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 you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts Citizens Advice may be able to help
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
- Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams
Scams Awareness Fortnight runs from 15th to the 28th June. It is an annual campaign which aims to create a network of confident, alert consumers who know what to do when they see a scam. The campaign includes a range of organisations across the Consumer Protection Partnership, including Trading Standards, the Department for Business Energy and Infrastructure, and Citizens Advice Scotland.