Citizens Advice Scotland are urging Scots to join the fight against scams and fraudsters, as a new UK-wide campaign gets underway.
May 2013 is Scams Awareness Month, in which the CAB Service has teamed up with other consumer groups to highlight the problem of scams, and tell people how to fight them. In Scotland local CAB staff will join with Trading Standards Officers to spread the word at information events throughout the month.
The Scottish CAB Service also reveals today that it advised consumers on over 4,000 issues relating to scams and fraud in the last year.
Lucy Manson, from Citizens Advice Scotland’s Community Action Team, says,
“The aim of this campaign is very simple. We want everyone to join in a huge national effort to beat the scammers. That means being more vigilant, spreading the word and reporting any scams you do come across.
“One of the reasons why scams are so common is because people don’t report them. Research has shown that, while half of us have experienced some kind of scam, only 5% of us report it. That’s a shocking figure, and if we are prepared to give them that sort of free ride, it’s no wonder scams keep happening.
“So in this campaign, our message is: Let’s stop allowing them to get away with it. There are simple things that anyone can do that will make life much harder for scammers and fraudsters. If every single one of us does these things, we really can cut the numbers of scams and give those responsible the justice they deserve.
“The bottom line is that scams are crimes. We should stop turning a blind eye, and instead stand up to them.”
See attached leaflets and posters. These will be distributed across Scotland by local CAB staff throughout the month.
For more information, interviews etc. please contact Tony Hutson on 07774 751655.
What to do if you have been scammed
Follow These 3 simple steps:
- GET ADVICE. Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
- REPORT IT. Contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk This will stop it happening to other people.
- WARN OTHERS. Protect your family, friends, and neighbours by telling them about scams you know about, and by urging them to be more vigilant and to follow these same 3 steps.
Signs of a scam
- The call, letter, e-mail or text has come out of the blue.
- You’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about .
- You didn’t buy a ticket (you can’t win a competition you didn’t enter!)
- They are asking you to send money in advance.
- They are saying you have to respond quickly.
- They are telling you to keep it a secret.
- They seem to be offering you something for nothing.
- If it seems too good to be true – it probably is!
How to protect yourself better
- Never give out contact details like your name, phone number or address to strangers or to people who should have this information already.
- Never give financial information or details of your identity, bank accounts or credit card to strangers or to the businesses that should already hold your details.
- Shred anything with your personal or bank details on – don’t just throw it away.
- If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up.
- Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No Thank You.”
- Resist pressure to make a decision straight away.
- Never send money to someone you don’t know.
- Walk away from job adverts that ask for money in advance.
- Ask friends, neighbours or family about whether an offer is likely to be a scam.
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
- Research has found that half of us have experienced attempted scams at one time or another, and 8% of us will fall victim to at least one in our lifetime. In extreme cases, people can lose hundreds of thousands of pounds to scams. And they cost the UK economy £3.5bn each year.
- It is sometimes thought that elderly people are the most vulnerable to scams, but research shows that the highest percentage of scam victims are those aged 35-44. This group is twice as likely to fall victim than those over-65. The truth is that ANYONE can be a victim of a con-trick. Many scams today are very sophisticated, and there is no shame in falling for them.