News item

Scams awareness month targets heartless scammers

Residents are being urged by Croydon’s trading standards team to make a stand and fight back against scammers.

May is national Scams Awareness Month and the council’s dedicated fair trading unit is calling for people in Croydon to be on the lookout for any website, letter, doorstep seller or phone call with a proposal that sounds too good to be true – because the chances are high that it will be a scam. 

Scams come in lots of different shapes and sizes, including dodgy online adverts and tricksters using dating websites to build relationships with people they later defraud. 

Other common types including ‘phishing’ emails and ‘vishing’ phone calls – designed to con people into giving away sensitive information – investment scams, and advanced fees requested to claim unexpected lottery wins. 

With fewer than 5% of people in the UK reporting scams to the authorities, Croydon’s residents are being urged to fight back against scammers, to ensure they don’t get away with conning innocent people. 

People should report suspect or too-good-to-be-true adverts or sales pitches to the authorities, and speak to a friend or relative about any out-of-the-blue offers they get on the doorstep, by phone or email.

The trading standards team wants people to bin scam mail at any of the collection boxes located in libraries across the borough and in the council’s headquarters at Bernard Weatherill House. When collected, the mail will alert the team to the latest cons – and where they are coming from. 

Tony Brooks, the director with responsibility for community safety, said: “Residents telling us about a scam puts us in a much stronger position to stop the con artists and make sure nobody else falls foul of their tricks.

 “May is Scams Awareness Month, and we’ll be telling people what to look out for, what kind of scams there are, and of the advice available if you think you might have been a victim.

“Don’t suffer in silence – speak up, let us know and help us put an end to the misery these heartless scammers cause.” 

Top tips for dealing with scams  

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • It you haven’t bought a ticket – you can’t win the prize.
  • You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize.
  • If in doubt, don’t reply – bin it, delete it or hang up.
  • Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No thank you”.
  • Contacted out of the blue – be suspicious.
  • Never reveal your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you.
  • Take your time – resist pressure to make a decision straight away.
  • Never send money to somebody you don’t know.
  • Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance.
  • Your bank will never attend your home.
  • Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card.
  • Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN.
  • Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.
  • Don’t suffer in silence – tell others about scams.

The low-down on scams can be read at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/sam14

If you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to help stop it happening to others.

For more information, visit Croydon Citizens Advice Bureau at www.croydoncab.org.uk/index.html or contact Croydon’s trading standards team on 020 84017 1310.

DATE: 23 April 2014