News item

Scams Awareness Month 2011

A picture of the Scamnesty logoThe Office of Fair Trading (OFT) launched their 2011 Scams Awareness Month on Tuesday 1 February in association with trading standards. In a bid to raise awareness of mass market scam mailings, trading standards services across the country will be alerting consumers about scams, and how they can outsmart the scammers.

Every year 3.2 million adults falls victim to scams. Deceptive mailings, phone calls or emails are all designed to con victims out of their money. As a result an incredible £3.5 billion is lost every year. Some victims are targeted many times over as their names are passed between scammers, and lose not only thousands, but suffer related stress caused by repeated requests for money.

During Scams Awareness Month there will be Scamnesty bins placed in local libraries and public areas around the country. These bins are for people to fight back against fraudsters by putting any scam mailings that land on their doorstep into them. To see if your local trading standards service is participating visit Consumer Direct’s website at

Graeme Preston, lead officer for scams, said; ‘The general advice is that if it appears too good to be true then it probably is. However, we are very concerned that those who are repeatedly falling victim to scams will not be in a position to heed this advice.’

What can never be underestimated is the effect on the victims and their loved ones as illustrated by the Think Jessica campaign at The Trading Standards Institute supports this campaign which was launched in October 2009. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of postal scams; advising people to think before sending money to claim fake prizes from bogus lotteries, competitions and catalogues.

To find out more information or to report a scam, visit the Consumer Direct website at