Scams Awareness fortnight launches today - Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Cheshire West are encouraging people to talk about their experiences of scams during the pandemic.
Citizens Advice Cheshire West have found out that 1 in 3 people (33%) in the North West has been the target of a scam since lockdown came into effect across the country.
2 in 3 people (63%) are worried someone they know will fall foul of a con. And a large majority of people (89%) reported they felt wary of coronavirus scams.
The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: “It’s shocking that during such a difficult time people are using the coronavirus pandemic to scam people, taking advantage of their worries and concerns.
It’s really important we all do our bit and report anything that looks like a scam when we see it. By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks. Always look out for others you think could be a risk too.“
Paul Nicholls, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Cheshire West said: “Our data shows that the last few months have been very difficult for a lot of people across west Cheshire. Yet despite this, we’ve seen appalling evidence of opportunistic scammers taking advantage of people.
“Statistics show that 1 in 3 of North West locals has been targeted by a scam since lockdown began, showing we all need to be on high alert.”
“To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Cheshire West are sharing the following tips on how to spot them.”
If you’re worried you, or someone you know, could be getting scammed take the following steps:
- Look into installing a call blocker to help combat telephone scams.
- Talk to your or their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards.
- Report the scam to Citizens Advice who will give you advice on what to do next and report the scam to Trading Standards.
- Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
- If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts Citizens Advice may be able to help.
You can also take the following steps to safeguard yourself and others:
- Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise.
- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
- Never send money to someone you’ve never met.
- Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you.
- Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away and if you feel pressured say “no”.
- Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call.
- Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams.