July is Scams Awareness Month and Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service will be leading the fightback.
It will be highlighting the top cons and features of a scam artist.
In the past year, it has received more than 500 complaints about doorstep crime, bogus mail, internet scams and telephone cons. But it estimates this figure is the tip of the iceberg as the vast majority are never reported.
Whatever the scam, it says all fraudsters operate in similar ways:
- Scam artists are well organised with researched telephone scripts and professional personalised marketing materials and mailings to appear legitimate.
- Scam artists are only after your money, so watch out for requests for money up front, often called ‘administration’ or ‘processing fees’.
- Scam artists want to be your best friend. They will be more excited than you about your ‘good luck’ and use psychological tricks to part you from your money.
- Scam artists don’t know you and they don’t want you to know who they are. The approach letter or telephone call will come out of the blue and often from overseas.
- Scam artists have a believable answer to every one of your questions. The scam artist is a practiced con-man.
- Scam artists try to rush you into a decision. Don’t be pressured into signing anything or sending any money.
- Scam artists will steal your trust as well as your money. They will pretend to be officials from the government, the police, a bank or a genuine company so that you will trust them.
- Scam artists will steal your personal information and use your details for fraud. Do not give out your personal bank account or credit card details to someone you don’t know or trust and never to cold callers!
- Scam artists target everyone. There is a scam for everyone. Don’t think you cannot be conned – no-one is immune. Be sceptical about any ‘too good to be true offer’.
For scams advice, you can visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams
Consumers and businesses wishing to make a scam complaint should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/consumer