Cheshire East Council is urging people to join the ‘fight back’ against fraudsters who are preying on households.
It comes as part of a nationwide campaign during ‘Scams Awareness Month’ to alert people to the threat posed by con artists.
Fraudsters are ‘picking the pockets’ of up to four million people nationally each year, according to new research from Citizens’ Advice.
Cheshire East Council trading standards investigations service is warning that people in Cheshire East are being sized-up by devious conmen and conwomen, who are using different scams to get them to part with their money.
Fraud offences in England and Wales rose by 25 per cent in 2013, compared to the previous year, with 207,252 cases reported to Action Fraud. In Cheshire East, the figure for reported cases rose 11 per cent.
Nationally, Citizens’ Advice has calculated up to four million people could be scammed each year as many frauds go unreported.
Scams Awareness Month runs until May 3, and Cheshire East Council’s trading standards investigations service is urging people to ‘fight back against the fraudsters’.
People are just as likely to be conned over the phone and via text messages as they are through letters, emails and websites. New analysis reveals:
● Over a third of scams (34 per cent) were over the phone;
● Almost a quarter of scams (24 per cent) were through visits to a web site;
● 16 per cent were letter or fax scams;
● One in ten scams were via emails.
Cheshire East Council is warning people to watch out for non-secure websites that ask for financial details. It’s important that people realise scammers are also at the end of the phone and on your doorstep.
Cheshire East residents have been reporting calls they have been receiving from callers purporting to be from Microsoft. The resident is tricked in to thinking there is a virus on their computer and it is going to cause a lot of damage if it isn’t removed.
Residents have been paying between £50 and £150 to these scammers to have the virus removed. No work is ever carried out and the virus doesn’t exist. People can totally free help with their pc and help removing any virus from http://www.ihelpforum.com which is run 24/7/365 with experts all over the world
Counterfeit cashier cheques, fraudulent lenders offering loans to get hold of personal details, dating scams, ticket cons and computer hacking were among commonly-reported scams. Online shopping and auction fraud was the biggest single fraud type with almost 40,000 recorded cases.
Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Cabinet member in charge of communities and regulatory services, said: “Our trading standards team is right on the frontline when it comes to protecting vulnerable residents from these fraudulent scams and the criminal scammers behind them.
“Pensioners and hard-up householders face invasion not only through their computers but also via their phones, letterboxes and on the doorstep.
“Scams Awareness Month helps raise awareness of the types of cons that are out there and offers a real opportunity to educate and inform our communities as to how to avoid falling victim to these callous and insidious schemes.”
What to do if you have been scammed:
● Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to help stop it happening to others;
● Often you can’t get your money back if you’ve been scammed, especially if you’ve handed over cash;
● If you’ve paid for goods or services by credit card you have more protection and if you used a debit card you may be able to ask your bank for a chargeback;
● Get advice and report scams to Trading Standards through the Citizens’ Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or online advice at www.adviceguide.org.uk
For more information about common scams, visit the Council website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk