Take a stand against scams urges Highland Council Trading Standards

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As part of the Highland Consumer Partnership, The Highland Council's Trading Standards team and Highland Citizens Advice Bureaux want to encourage everyone to take a stand against Scams this July and to raise awareness of this debilitating crime.  Every year UK consumers lose millions of pounds through scams, not to mention the devastating psychological effects on the victims they leave behind.

Anyone can fall victim of a scam.

However, according to a recent survey carried out by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, the average age of a victim is currently 74 years old.  This may indicate that older more vulnerable people are being deliberately targeted by scammers.  

Criminals use a variety of deceitful methods to encourage people to part with thousands of pounds and will target older more vulnerable individuals as a result.  However, most victims of scams are unwilling perhaps to come forward and report this crime.  Often victims are left anxious and depressed after they realise that they have fallen victim to this crime. 

David MacKenzie, Team Leader explains: “Some victims may have lost their life savings to unscrupulous scammers, who often ‘groom’ victims over a period of months in order to gain the victims trust.   We are aware that scam reporting incidents are rarely reported because most people who fall victim of a scam feel that they have nowhere to turn to for help.  We want to encourage victims and their family and friends to come forward and report this crime. ”

Recent figures show that roughly 1 in 20 people fall victim to scams every year, but fewer than 5% of victims report their experience.

Increased awareness will prevent the most vulnerable becoming victims and eventually the criminals responsible for so much suffering will be brought to justice.

Alasdair Christie, Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey Bureau Manager adds: “We are pleased to once again be part of this campaign to raise awareness in the community.  The CAB stands ready to provide advice and assistance to local people who may have fallen victim to a fraudster or who are suspicious about a letter or phone call they have received.  We would urge people to seek help by using the national helpline or by visiting the CAB and our advice is always free, impartial and confidential”.

Play your part and take a stand against scams by being aware about how to spot one.  Here are some things to look out for

  • Out of the blue phone calls, letters and emails
  • Being asked to send money to claim a prize
  • Being told of winnings when a competition wasn’t entered
  • Too good to be true offers
  • Pressure selling
  • Uninvited door step callers
  • Being asked share your personal details
  • Secrecy

If you suspect a scam or think you or someone you know has been a victim of a scam, please report it to the Citizens Consumer Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or through their online form at :

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/

 

5 Jul 2016
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