Trad­ing Stan­dards and Cit­i­zens Ad­vice launch na­tion­wide cam­paign to ex­pose the most com­mon scam­mers’ tricks

The Oban Times - - FEATURE -

Ar­gyll and Bute Trad­ing Stan­dards is urg­ing peo­ple to spread the word about scams and ex­pose the tac­tics of fraud­sters to pro­tect oth­ers.

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice and Trad­ing Stan­dards have launched the na­tional Scams Aware­ness Month, which runs un­til the end of July, to help stop peo­ple fall­ing prey to scams by fol­low­ing a three-step rule – get ad­vice, re­port it and tell oth­ers about it.

It comes as na­tional re­search by Cit­i­zens Ad­vice finds scam­mers are us­ing a va­ri­ety of tac­tics to get peo­ple to part with their cash, with peo­ple los­ing an av­er­age of £2,500 across all types of scam.

Meth­ods in­clude vish­ing – where scam­mers cold- call peo­ple in a bid to get their bank de­tails, and of­fers of fake ser­vices, such as telling peo­ple their com­puter has a virus which they can fix re­motely.

In­vest­ment scams car­ried the high­est price tag, with peo­ple in­vest­ing in fake di­a­monds or bo­gus stocks and shares los­ing of on av­er­age £20,000 each.

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice and Trad­ing Stan­dards are warn­ing peo­ple to be on their guard and watch out for the dif­fer­ent meth­ods used by fraud­sters, from doorstep sell­ing of coun­ter­feit goods to de­mands for up­front pay­ments for ser­vices that never ma­te­ri­alise.

Coun­cil­lor David Kin­niburgh, pol­icy lead for plan­ning and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices, said: ' Scams are not a mi­nor blight. They heap mis­ery on peo­ple and in some cases can lead to fi­nan­cial ruin.

' Fraud­sters use so­phis­ti­cated tech­niques to con peo­ple and, be­cause they vary their meth­ods, it can be tricky to spot when some­thing is a scam. If you come across some­thing that seems sus­pi­cious, seek ad­vice so you don’t put your­self at risk.

' It’s vi­tal to re­port scams and spread the word so we can clam­p­down on con artists and stop oth­ers fall­ing into the same traps.’ Eight com­mon scams re­ported to Cit­i­zens Ad­vice are:

In­vest­ment – vic­tims are per­suaded to in­vest money into fake ven­tures and are then un­able to get their money back.

Fake ser­vices – peo­ple are of­fered a ser­vice for a fee, only to find the ser­vice isn’t real or doesn’t ex­ist at all. Ex­am­ples in­clude of­fers to fix com­put­ers re­motely and fake in­voices for ad­ver­tis­ing. Vish­ing – con-artists cold­call peo­ple pre­tend­ing to be a le­git­i­mate com­pany, ask­ing for credit or debit card de­tails – for ex­am­ple, on the pre­tence that they need to re­fund over­paid bills.

Doorstep sell­ing – vic­tims are of­fered goods doorto- door or from the back of a van, which are likely to be coun­ter­feit. Fraud­sters sell­ing mat­tresses, ‘ fresh’ fish and clean­ing prod­ucts were all re­ported to Cit­i­zens Ad­vice.

Up­front pay­ment or fee – fraud­sters ask for a pay­ment in ad­vance for a ser­vice or prod­uct that never ma­te­ri­alises, such as ask­ing for a fee to get a loan, or to pay for a train­ing course to se­cure a job. Pre­mium rate texts – vic­tims in­ad­ver­tently agree to re­ceive pre­mium rate texts about games or com­pe­ti­tions, usu­ally cost­ing around £4 each. Coun­ter­feit goods – peo­ple buy goods at mar­ket­places or on­line that turn out to be coun­ter­feit or even stolen. Com­mon prod­ucts in­clude cig­a­rettes, shoes and cloth­ing, and tick­ets for events. Goods not re­ceived – peo­ple place or­ders for goods which don’t ar­rive. Scams are of­ten car­ried out through so­cial me­dia and on­line auc­tion sites. If you have been scammed, re­port it to Trad­ing Stan­dards through the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice con­sumer ser­vice on 03454 04 05 06, which will also of­fer ad­vice.

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