People warned to beware of scams
Published: Wednesday 29th June 16
July is Scams Awareness Month and Wandsworth Council and Citizens Advice Wandsworth (CAW) have teamed up to expose tactics used by scammers.
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.
CAW is urging local people targeted by scammers to follow a three-step rule - get advice, report it, and tell others about it.
The charity is working with the council’s community safety and trading standards teams, plus Age UK Wandsworth and the council’s library contractor GLL to get the message out.
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 £5billion each year.
Scam awareness information displays will be put up in town centre libraries throughout July and information postcards will also be delivered to all people who receive the Home Delivery Library Service.
Informing the authorities and warning others is the only sure fire way of stopping scams, but Citizens Advice Wandsworth says people can be hesitant to even tell their friends and family. They want to show how speaking up about a scam is key to getting scammers closed down and how to go about reporting suspected fraud to the authorities.
CAW volunteer Alison Blair, who is leading the campaign, recently helped her elderly neighbour who uses her computer for skyping her family and emailing, but who struggles with new technology. She had a telephone call saying that the ‘tech centre’ had detected a problem with her computer and asking her to send money for it to be fixed. She agreed, paid over the phone and was told that the tech centre would remotely take control of her computer. For about an hour the cursor was being controlled remotely until Alison stepped in and shut the computer down.
Telephone scammers also operate in the borough. They call, claiming to be from the bank or police, say your card has been used fraudulently and needs replacing, ask for the PIN and send a cab round to collect it.
Phil Jew, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Wandsworth 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 people what to look out for so they don’t fall prey to a fraudster.
“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.”
The council’s community safety spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “Some of these scams have been around for years but people are still falling for them, so we’re keen to work with CAW and other partners to get this message out to help protect the borough’s most vulnerable residents.”
What to do if you have been scammed
Get advice and report it to Trading Standards through Citizens Advice Wandsworth or through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.
You can also report scams on the Action Fraud website: www.actionfraud.police.uk
On-line information about common scams is available at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/scams/common-scams/
Citizens Advice Wandsworth is partly funded by the council. Find out more about CAW services and opening hours at http://www.wandsworthcabx.org.uk/