THURROCK Council’s trading standards is warning people to beware fraudsters preying on hard-up households during Scams Awareness Month.
Fraudsters are “picking the pockets” of up to four million people each year, finds new research from Citizens Advice.
Thurrock’s Trading Standards says that as local people struggle to make ends meet they are being sized up by con artists.
The campaign is also supported by the Thurrock’s Citizens Advice Bureaux and manager Mike Rawlings said: “Scammers can’t continue to get away with fleecing people of their hard-earned money. We want to see a fight back against scams.
“It’s a disgrace that scammers often target elderly people with sophisticated scams such as posing as their bank or phone company. People regularly come to us with heart-breaking stories about con artists taking their money and it’s important that people know what to look out for and what they can do.
“Anyone who is unsure about someone asking for their financial details should check with someone they trust and report anything that sounds dodgy to their local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can get the low-down on scams by visiting Citizensadvice.org.uk/sam14.”
And Lucy Magill, Thurrock Council’s head of public protection, added: “May is Scams Awareness Month and there will be a lot of national publicity on this theme, but it is important that people know the local council is also supporting this.
“Thurrock Council takes the safety and security of local people very seriously and works very closely with all our partners to promote the simple things people can do to make their lives safer.”
Top tips for dealing with scams
1. Remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
2. Never give out your bank details or send money unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you.
3. Contacted out of the blue? Be suspicious.
4. Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card, ask for your PIN number or come to your home.
5. If you are buying online, make sure the website is secure – check for the padlock or “https” next to the web address
6. It you haven’t bought a ticket you can’t win it.
7. You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize.
8. Pressure to make a decision straight away? Take your time and just say: “No thank you”.
9. Do not follow job adverts that ask for money in advance.
10. Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.
11. Don’t suffer in silence – tell others about scams.