Do you know your vishing, from your phishing and smishing? Scams Awareness Month lifts the lid off the latest scams
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has reported a 7 per cent increase in the number of fraud offences recorded in England and Wales, compared to the previous year. That’s more than 660,000 reports made to the intelligence bureau. But experts estimate that only 5 to 15 percent of all scams are reported, so the true number of fraud offences is likely to be considerably higher.
June sees National Scams Awareness Month, and Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards is raising awareness of scams, how to spot them, and how to report them so others don’t fall for them.
Age UK research found that around two-fifths of older people across the UK – around five million people – who believed that they’d fallen victim to scams, didn’t report it to an official channel. Many of them said that they’d not reported it because they felt too embarrassed.
75 is the average age of reported scam victims. Figures from National Trading Standards show that older people are deliberately targeted, and fall victim most to phone and mail scams.
But it’s not just older people as there’s evidence that the number of under 25s becoming victim to scams is rising, fuelled possibly by an over-confidence in using new digital technology, making them complacent and increasingly vulnerable.
Meanwhile it’s actually the 40 to 60 age group that are the most affected by scams.
So what are they and what should we do about them?
In short, a scam is a scheme to try to steal money, personal information or data from a person or an organisation.
Paul Thomas, Head of Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, said:
“Scams and the people who organise them are becoming more sophisticated, so keeping up on the latest plots and schemes is a challenge. But everyone needs to be on the look-out, and to look out for each other by talking to friends or relatives when they suspect a problem, and reporting it to the authorities.
“We have some great information about scams at http://www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/consumers/rogue-traders-doorstep-crime/scams-doorstep-crime-online-training.”
There are things you can do if you suspect you’re the target of a scam:
- Report them to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040, http://www.actionfraud.police.uk. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime. If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam, your first step should be to contact your bank or credit card company.
- Get advicefrom Citizens Advice consumer service 03454 04 05 06. Look for online consumer advice and information at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- Tell family, friends and neighboursso that they can avoid scams.
- You can also use a product to block telephone calls. (Your phone company may have a blocking service or help available to protect people from nuisance calls. Call your company’s customer service helpline to find out.)
TrueCall – http://www.truecall.co.uk
CallBlocker – http://www.cprcallblocker.co.uk
Bob Jope: HEALTHWATCH TORBAY