Be scams aware
July 2015 is Scams Awareness Month. Learn to spot the signs and protect yourself and others.
Sadly, thousands of Camden residents are victims of scams every year – yet less than 5% report them. Our trading standards team can not only provide advice and support, but can also help to stop scams spreading.
In this article we hope to provide some practical advice to help you be more scams aware and protect yourself from falling victim to fraudsters.
What is a scam?
Scams can come in many forms, from doorstep double glazing sales, to online investment offers.
You could be targeted by someone impersonating your bank to collect bank details, or by bogus companies offering computer services.
Online, you might encounter fake job adverts, offers for goods and services, or emails about winning a prize draw you haven’t entered.
Last month, Camden Trading Standards received a number of reports of bogus callers visiting older vulnerable residents and claiming to work for Camden Council.
If you are advised that a cold caller on the phone or your doorstep is from the council, you can check their identity by calling Camden Council on telephone 0207 974 4444.
Spotting a scam
This Scams Awareness Month we’re asking you to take your time to make a decision and get your facts straight - and speak out if you think you may have spotted a scam.
Look out for the following warning signals to help you stay safe
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – be wary
- Did you buy a ticket? If not, you can’t win anything
- You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize
- Contacted out of the blue? Be suspicious
- Resist pressure to make an immediate decision – don’t be rushed
- Ignore job adverts that request money in advance
- Never send money to someone you have never met
- If it doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it, or hang up
- Genuine computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer
- If your bank rings you and you suspect a scam, hang up – then either wait five minutes to clear the line, or use another phone to call your bank
- Your bank will never phone or attend your home to collect cash, your pin, payment card or chequebook if you are a victim of fraud. Nor will they ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons.
You can avoid unwanted calls by registering your phone and mobile number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). 38% of scams use phone calls or texts to target consumers. Visit their website at tpsonline.org.uk or phone them on 0845 070 0707.
Reporting a scam
If you think you have identified a scam – report it.
You may or may not be able to get your money back, but you could prevent others from being targeted.
- Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.org.uk
- Contact your bank if you have paid for goods or services by credit card or debit card. You may be able to ask for a chargeback.
- Get advice and report to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or at adviceguide.co.uk
Find out more
Visit the Citizens Advice website.