Don’t get caught out by scammers

AS Scams Awareness Month draws to a close Cambridgeshire Trading Standards are again urging residents to be extra vigilant and not get caught out by the conmen.

Every year in the UK consumers lose billions of pounds worth of money to scams which often exploit low-cost mass-marketing techniques such as e-mail, telephone and post.

Misleading mailings make false promises of huge lottery wins or other high-value prizes but always insist on a payment being made before any winnings can be claimed. One local victim of a telephone lottery fraud sent over £9,000 to Spain and Ireland in ‘fees’ for fictitious lottery wins in a 15 month period.

Often the elderly or vulnerable are specifically targeted by scammers but this is not always the case. Targets can find themselves on the receiving end of a barrage of letters with some people being sent up to 600 misleading letters a month from across the world.

Anyone who has a friend or relative who may be responding to scams, or has been a victim themselves should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08456-040506.

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards have joined forces with Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau to run a year-long pilot Consumer Empowerment Partnership (CEP). Together this partnership will work to prevent fewer people falling victim to scams.

To report a scam mailing, even if it has not been responded to, use the Action Fraud online reporting at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or by calling 0300-123-2040.