Citizens Advice found in June 2020 that in the first three months of the first lockdown over a third of British adults (36%) had been the target of a scam.
Bucks Council advises that scammers are exploiting the pressures that the pandemic has put people under, including a significant increase in the number of scams relating to financial services reported in the past year.
Officials warn that residents in Aylesbury and beyond should be extra wary of fake ‘Get Rich Quick’ investment schemes or someone pretending to be from a bank to get a potential victim to transfer money or personal details.
The council is recirculating this information for Scam Awareness Fortnight, which started yesterday (June 14) and runs until June 27.
Other prevalent scams include: emails or texts pretending to be from the government or charities asking for cash donations on the doorstep. People also use fake identities on dating websites and apps to lure victims into thinking they are in a genuine relationship only to scam them out of money further down the line.
Councillor Arif Hussain, deputy cabinet member for community safety, says: “Our aim as an (Friends Against Scams) FAS organisation is to make sure that our residents know how to spot a scam, what to do when they identify a scam, who to report it to, and more importantly how to get help and support if they have fallen victim of a scam.
“Anyone can become a victim of this type of crime and this is why it’s absolutely vital that we all know how to spot a scam so that we can stamp them out. During the awareness week I urge residents to spend some time looking at the Citizens Advice website (citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer) where you’ll find a wealth of information and advice. You could also take part in a short and interactive online scam awareness session, which can be done in the comfort of your own home, all you need to do is visit the Friends Against Scams website at www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.
“I would also like to encourage residents to keep a watchful eye on your friends, family, neighbours and anyone else who you think might be more susceptible to being targeted. Check out the tips below and please help us spread the word.”
In collaboration with Friends Against Scams the council provided the following tips on how to spot a scam:
-It seems too good to be true – like an email saying you’ve won a competition you don’t remember entering
-Someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly
-You’re being urged to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think about it or talk to family and friends
-You’ve been asked to pay for something urgently or in an unusual way – for example by bank transfer or gift vouchers
-You’ve been asked to give away personal information
f you, or someone you know, is a victim of a scam, there are several organisations who can help you:
-To report a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
-To get advice or report a trader to Trading Standards, contact Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133
-If you (or someone you know) is at imminent risk from losing money to a scam, contact police on 999. If it is a non-emergency, ring the police on 101.
To help you feel more empowered on your doorstep and to say no to unwanted cold calling traders, contact Bucks & Surrey Trading Standards for a ‘no cold calling’ window/ door sticker – Email: [email protected] or call: 0808 223 113.
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