Campaign encourages people to fight back against scammers

10 June 2019

Cheshire West and Chester Council and Citizens Advice Cheshire West are supporting this month’s Scam Awareness campaign.

Two in three people in the North West have been approached by a scammer in the last two years, according to Citizens Advice Cheshire West.  Worryingly, of those targeted, only 49% of people spoke to anyone about it.

Under the slogan “Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware”  Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Cheshire West are encouraging people to talk about their experiences and look out for others, particularly more vulnerable people.

More than half of all scams reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service in the last year used well-established, offline methods. These classic tactics from the scammers’ playbook include unsolicited doorstep selling, mail and cold calling, and saw people lose an average of almost £3,000. 

Fraudsters using these methods are known overwhelmingly to target older or more vulnerable people.

The Council’s Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore said: “This month’s Scams Awareness campaign is an opportunity to raise awareness and tackle these cruel crimes. 

“It’s important to spread the message that scams are crimes that can happen to anyone and we don’t need to be embarrassed if we fall victim to them.

“We are pleased to be supporting Scams Awareness Month again in 2019 with Cheshire West Citizens Advice.”

Paul Nicholls, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Cheshire West said:  “‘Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware’ is our message to people in Cheshire West and Chester.

“We’re finding that, although many people have come into contact with scammers, very few people are speaking up about this issue.

“People can sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed reporting their experiences, but sadly this means perpetrators are getting away scot-free.

“The fact is, all of us can have the bad luck of being targeted with a scam. We hope this Scams Awareness campaign will encourage people to share their stories and learn tips to stop scammers from running off with people’s money.”

To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Cheshire West are sharing the following tips on how to spot them.

If you’re worried that someone you know has become victim to a scam, look out for the following. Are they:
  • Receiving more mail than usual?
  • Receiving unsolicited calls or spending more time on the phone? 
  • Struggling with money or have they withdrawn large amounts of cash recently?
If you think someone you know is being scammed, take the following steps:
  • If you’re worried about telephone scams look into installing a call blocker
  • Encourage them to tell their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards
  • Report the scam to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or by phone on 03454 04 05 06. They will give you advice on what to do next and report the scam to Trading Standards
  • Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
  • If they’re struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts encourage them to visit their local Citizens Advice 
You can also take the following steps to safeguard yourself and others:
  • Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Never send money to someone you’ve never met
  • Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you 
  • Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away and if you feel pressured say “no”
  • Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call 
  • Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams
Staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice Cheshire West are on hand to help people know when they’ve been targeted with a scam as part of Scams Awareness Month in June, a national campaign encouraging people to report and talk about scams.

Find out more information by visiting your local Citizens Advice office in Northwich, Chester or Winsford between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday, and in Ellesmere Port  between 9am - 2pm Monday to Friday.  No appointment is necessary.
 

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