Scams Awareness Month – If it sounds too good to be true….
July 1st 2017 – This month we’re working with Trading Standards to raise awareness of scams and how to protect yourself from people up to no good. Scams come in all shapes and sizes, cunningly planned and perfectly executed with just one objective in mind – to take your money!
We want to encourage you to protect yourselves and others by spreading the message about some key steps we can all take to avoid getting caught by scammers.
Shelley Culley Deputy Manager at Citizens Advice North East Suffolk says, “At Citizens Advice we are all too aware of the devastating impact a scam can have on a person’s life, unfortunately, and more often than not, we don’t see the victim until after the damage has been done and it’s almost impossible to recover from it.”
She said that the scammers will target anyone; the vulnerable, the elderly, the young, employed, unemployed, adding, “scammers are not fussy who they target and they are getting braver”.
Scams come from a variety of sources including a text message, a letter, a telephone call, an email or even in the guise of an unknown person knocking at the door. People need to be vigilant and never just assume a person who makes contact means well, or is even who they say they are. These are just some of the typical ways that scammers may dupe you;
- Has a call, letter, email or text arrived unexpectedly? (does it have simple spelling and grammar mistakes?)
- An emailer knows your address but not your name? Does an email begin with something vague like ‘To our valued customer’?
- Have you been contacted by a lottery or competition that you’ve never heard of?
- Is a company asking you to send money in advance or are you being asked for personal and security details?
- Are you being urged to respond quickly to an offer so you don’t get time to think or talk to family and friends?
- Has a business that’s contacted you only got a web-based email address such as gmail or yahoo?
Protect yourself from suspicious emails:
- Be cautious
- Use a spam filter on your emails
- Delete emails from unfamiliar people or addresses
- Don’t call the phone numbers or click on the links
- If you’re not quite sure find the official company website or customer support number using a separate browser and search engine. You can always check a company (Ltd or PLC) on the Government Companies House listing or type the name into a search engine to see what other people may have already experienced.
- Don’t be fooled by IT experts offering to remove computer viruses.
- Your bank or the Police will never ask you for your pin number
- A simple response to persuasive sales patter is just to say, “No thank you”.
- To rid yourself of unsolicited mail register at www.mpsonline.org.uk or telephone 0845 703 4599
- To stop nuisance telephone calls register with www.tpsonline.org.uk or phone 0345 070 0707
If you spot something that doesn’t sit right and you want a second opinion, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service 03454 04 05 06. If you think it might be a scam report it to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040) or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk