Consumer scams are the focus for a new Citizens Advice Scotland campaign involving their bureaux network. CEO of CAS Lucy Mcternan explains why: “Some groups of people may be especially vulnerable to scams, older people for example. People can feel deeply ashamed of falling for scams and may be unwilling to admit this by reporting them or seeking help. Trying to sort out the effects of scams can take immense amounts of time and effort by bureaux.”
She added “Scams have three main types of impact - financial loss, psychological harm and inconvenience. They take people’s money and give nothing in return. They may lead to debt, even in some cases the loss of a home. They are constantly changing and use many approaches; by phone, internet and doorstep selling. Scams are a major problem. The term scam can sound relatively harmless, but scams are frauds.”
The campaign aims to increase awareness and make people less vulnerable to scammers, while strengthening the hand of enforcers. It also aims to strengthen the perception of scams as a form of fraud – a serious criminal matter.
Developing partnerships with other consumer organisations such as Action Fraud, Consumer Direct, Trading Standards, the OFT and Consumer Focus Scotland will be key to the campaign, both at national and local levels. We anticipate creating new models for concerted local advocacy and campaigning on consumer issues.
McTernan added “We will provide citizen advice bureaux across Scotland with tools to empower people to identify existing and new scams, avoid being scammed, get help when they have been scammed, and help public authorities take action against fraudsters,”
McTernan continued “We also want to help bureaux make effective links with local Trading Standards teams. We all need to be working more closely together in future to protect clients and help them get a fair deal.”
For more information and interviews please contact Matt Lancashire on 0131 550 1062 or 07774 751655/07788546862
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