As part of the Citizens Advice Scams Awareness campaign “Don’t miss a trick” Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre is warning local people to beware of scams and scammers.
72% of people have been targeted by scammers in the past two years and over a third have been targeted five times or more.
Research shows that nearly half of all people have taken no action to protect themselves from scams in the past year and that 68% of people who have been targeted by a scam never tell anyone about it.
The majority of people who report that they have been scammed are between 41 and 60 years of age but all ages are targeted.
Over £10 billion is estimated to be lost every year to scams and fraud but the majority of those who have lost money do not report it.
There are a number of things that you can do to protect yourself against scams.
l Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
l Don’t click on documents or links in an email which promise you a refund or tell you that you have to check bank details. Reputable organisations will advise you to go to the website and log in the way you usually do
l Don’t be rushed – you should never need to make a decision straight away and scammers will try and hustle you into an agreement before you have time to think about something carefully
l If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Beware of money making schemes which promise an above average return even if they seem to be endorsed by well known personalities
l Beware of people claiming they are neighbours asking for an urgent loan of money for an emergency. If you haven’t seen them before you may never see them again
l Never send money to someone you have never met and never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you
l Beware of booking holidays or tickets through social media. If the company or person is not reputable then what you buy may not exist or it may not be genuine
l Walk away from job advertisements that ask for money in advance. You should never have to pay to apply for a job
l Genuine computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer and you should never allow someone to take control of your computer remotely
l If you suspect a scam or you don’t like pressurised sales patter then hang up or walk away.
It may not be a scam but it isn’t good business practice either.
If you have been the victim of a scam or you are worried that you might have been targeted don’t be ashamed and suffer in silence.
Speak out to warn others and contact Citizens Advice consumer advice on 0345 040506 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (www.actionfraud.police.uk).