Sixty-two per cent of people in the South West have been approached by a scammer in the last two years according to new research by Citizens Advice Cornwall. Worryingly, of those targeted, only 52% of people spoke to anyone about it.
Under the slogan “Stop, Report, Talk: Be #scamaware”, Citizens Advice Cornwall 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 to overwhelmingly target older, more vulnerable people.
Gill Pipkin, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice Cornwall said: “‘Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware’ is our message to people in Cornwall.
“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.
“In reality, 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, Citizens Advice Cornwall is 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- Struggling with money or have they withdrawn large amounts of cash recently?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