To mark scam awareness fortnight, Nottinghamshire Council is reminding residents of the steps they can take to protect themselves.
With many people facing increased financial pressures due to the rising cost of living, scammers are looking for ways to take advantage and defraud individuals, such as sending out phishing emails offering fake government rebates.
Coun John Cottee, council cabinet member for communities, said: “It’s important to remember anyone can fall victim to a scam.
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"They aren’t always easy to spot and as a result people of all ages and backgrounds get scammed.
“Scams can leave lasting financial and psychological distress on victims, and often come with a stigma which leaves victims embarrassed and unwilling to report the crime.
“Our advice is to be suspicious of unsolicited mail, emails or telephone cold calls and say no to all doorstep tradespeople.
“Legitimate companies will not call you to verify your financial details or demand a fee for a usually free service or a special offer, so never give your details out when you receive unsolicited requests.”
Scam examples include:
• Doorstep – People calling at your door to offer you goods and services you don’t want or need;
• Telephone – Phone calls telling you that you need to pay an urgent bill and requesting your bank details. Calls offering you a pendant /lifeline alarm service or offering you a refund on a white goods insurance policy you may have purchased. Reports have also been received regarding a WhatsApp scam message pretending to be from a family member who needs money urgently;
• Online – ‘Copycat' websites selling services that are either free or cheaper via the official Government route. People asking for money urgently on dating websites, perhaps for urgent medical care or to pay for a visa to visit you;
• Post – Letters informing you that you have won a prize, but you need to send some money to claim the prize, or clairvoyants predicting harm or poor health is around the corner, and for a fee they can protect you.
Trading Standards officers at the council have put together tips to help people protect themselves and family members against scams:
• Do not deal with people that turn up out of the blue at your property offering to do work. Always shop around, you can ask family and friends for recommendations or find an approved trader through the Buy With Confidence Scheme
• If you are expecting someone to call at your property, always ask for identification and if in doubt call the organisation directly to verify;
• Be suspicious of requests for money up front and never feel pressured into handing any money over;
• Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help and support. People who are genuine will be happy to wait for your response;
• Legitimate organisations will not contact you out of the blue to ask for payment. Make sure to remember this if you are contacted;
• If an email does not look right, never click on links or attachments. If you are unsure about whether an email is genuine, ask family and friends to make sure;
• Protect your financial information, especially from those you don’t know. Never give your bank card or pin number to a stranger;
• If in doubt, take your time and get advice. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
The council said, it is important to act immediately if you think someone might be trying to scam you – call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133.