July is Scams Awareness Month and I’ll be sharing a few tips on how to avoid scams, plus some advice about where to turn if you think you have been the victim of a scam.
Figures show that less than 5% of victims report scams to the authorities and this month aims to highlight how scams continue to flourish when people stay silent.
Scams come in every form, from doorstep double glazing sales to online investment offers. People may be targeted with “vishing” (or voice phising) calls where a fraudster impersonates their bank to collect their bank details, or by bogus companies offering computer services. Online scams include dodgy job adverts and offers for goods and services, while mail scams may ask victims to pay a fee in order to claim their winnings from a prize draw they haven’t entered.
The Scams Awareness Month campaign is asking people to keep two things in mind when they receive an unsolicited approach or when they are looking for goods or services: don’t be rushed and don’t be hushed. People should take their time to make a decision and get their facts together before parting with their money or personal information, and speak out when they think they’ve spotted a scam.
Scams thrive on silence. Fraudsters know that victims are often too ashamed to share what happened to them, meaning that scams can continue to spread unchecked. We’re urging people to lift the lid on scams and start talking about suspicious email, junk mail, online ads or door-to-door sellers operating in our area.
Scams are run by professional con artists and it can be very hard to know what to look out for. Our advice is that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re contacted out of the blue be on your guard, and never give your bank details out unless you are certain you know who the person is, and that you can trust them. Don’t let people put you under pressure to hand over money and don’t feel afraid to ask questions if you feel uncertain. If you think you have been the victim of a scam, contact Citizens Advice for help and report it to Trading Standards.
For more advice contact Bolton Citizen’s Advice Bureau on 0808 801 0011or visit www.boltoncab.co.uk