Play your part: Act on scams
Many of the scammers target the elderly, socially isolated and vulnerable who once they reply, are sent numerous offers and marketing mail, basically anything to try to make them part with their money. Names and addresses can be added to “suckers” lists, followed by repeated victimisation through the mail and in many instances follow up with menacing and frequent telephone calls.
Using email and text messages, its possible to send unsolicited offers to thousands of people quickly and relatively cheaply. If only a tiny fraction of people reply, huge profits can still be made by these criminals.
This type of crime is often not reported out of embarrassment or because there is still a belief the scam is genuine. Its been known for this type of crime to remain hidden until a victim dies, and only then do their relatives realise thousands of pounds have been paid into these criminal accounts, normally outwith the UK.
We should all be scam aware and we would also urge carers, relatives and people in contact with elderly, socially isolated or vulnerable to be on their guard.
Scams Awareness Month: July 2017
Running throughout July, Fife Trading Standards and Citizens Advice will be supporting the campaign locally to give consumers the skills and confidence to identify scams, share experiences and take action by reporting their suspicions. Find out how to 'Play your part, act on scams' at scams.citizensadvice.org.uk.
Be scam aware
- Has the call, letter, email or text arrived unexpectedly?
- You’ve never heard of the lottery or competition and didn’t buy a ticket.
- They're asking you to send money in advance or want your personal or security details.
- You’re being urged to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think about it or talk to family and friends.
You or someone you know may have been targeted by a scam recently.
Research shows the majority of us have encountered a scam but not everyone knows what to do. That’s why we we’re urging everyone to play their part and act on scams in their community.
Help to protect yourself and others by following these key steps:
Look out if:
- you're contacted out of the blue
- they make promises that sound too good to be true - it probably is!
- they ask you to pay for something in advance, e.g. you've to pay a fee before claiming a prize
- you're asked to make a quick decision, adding ‘if you don’t act now you’ll miss out’. This puts you under pressure and doesn’t give you time to think
- they're over-familiar and over-friendly
- the offer has to be kept secret
- they ask for your bank account details. Never give your bank details to anyone you don’t know, especially online
- the company's contact is a mobile number or PO Box number, these are easy to close and difficult to trace. It may be a sign that the company doesn’t exist or isn't legitimate. Check out the company's details with Companies House or search online for more details about them.
IMPORTANTLY: If you think something might be a scam, don’t reply: throw it away, delete it or hang up and get further advice.
Where to get advice
Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to take a stand against scams friendsagainstscams.org.uk (takes you to an external website).
Expert advice on spam and scam emails is available at Getsafeonline.org (takes you to an external website).
Read the story of a victim of chronic scam mail at thinkjessica.com (takes you to an external website).
The National Fraud Authority helps to co-ordinate the fight against fraud in the UK also provide advice and support through their website at actionfraud.org.uk. The website includes a section where you can report a fraud.
Trusted Trader scheme
Trading Standards operates the Trusted Trader scheme. It’s a membership scheme which uses an online directory of local tradesmen who have made a commitment to treat their customers fairly. Find out more at Trusted Trader.
Tel: 03454 040506