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Video produced by the Office of Trading.
Scams Video - Transcript
- Are misleading or fraudulent offers designed to con you out of money
- Are received by post, email, telephone, text or face to face.
Office of Fair Trading research shows that scammers:
- have targeted half the UK Population.
- Con 3 million people every year
- Cost 3.5 billion annually
Some people lose their life savings
reply to a scam and your details are sold on
they bombard you
They take your money and your well being
Albert 82 years old from Dorset
Albert received 70 prize draw scams a day.
Sent cheques totalling £7000.
Suffered stress and anxiety and ended up in residential care.
Scams seem so believable because they:
- Look professional
- Appear official
- Seem personal to you
- Pretend you are the only winner
- Use stolen identities
In fact they target millions of people to con them all, not just the elderly and vulnerable.
Stephen 40 years old from Kent
Stephen received hundreds of elaborate internet scams. Lost £1500, and almost lost his marriage.
How to recognise a scam
- Are received out of the blue
- Promise something for nothing.
- Tell you respond immediately
- Ask you for money upfront
Rita 83 years old from Norfolk
Rita got 60 letters a day and dozens of phone calls.
Received tons of junk but never received the promised prizes.
Was terrorised by clairvoyant scams threatening misfortune.
Lost £30,000 life savings
The message is simple, Always Stop, think, think again.
You can’t turn the clock back, so
Don’t be pressurised into sending off money immediately to someone you don’t even know.
How likely is it that I’ve specially been chosen?
Millions of people have probably received the same offer to CON them out of their money.
Always read the offer carefully.
Speak to family or friends or seek advice.
Don’t let them con you.
Mass Marketing Scams
Each year mass marketing scams cause approximately £3.5 billion worth of detriment to 3.2 million UK consumers. Research has found that scams cause psychological, as well as financial harm to victims.
The Metropolitan Police have identified 1500 scam victims living in Hampshire. Hampshire Trading Standards has committed to contacting 50 of these victims a month to offer support.
In August 2013 officers visited a lady in her eighties living alone in East Hampshire. She had not responded to her letter from Trading Standards about scams and was not receiving any support services of any kind. The lady answered the door with the door chain in place and the officers showed their ID. She was very reluctant to engage in conversation but officers gently persevered and were eventually let inside the hallway. It became apparent that the lady was a chronic hoarder and she was unable to keep herself or her home clean.
She confided that not only was she receiving 20+ scam letters a day but also a large amount of telephone calls asking her to pay money for various scams. She agreed to officers changing her telephone number which they were able to do immediately. She was also given advice about Scams and agreed to send her scam mail in pre-post envelopes to Trading Standards rather than replying to them. Trading Standards have already received a batch of her mail in this way, which they will now securely destroy.
The lady was offered various options of assistance at home but she declined all offers and was felt to have the mental capacity to make this decision.
She was, however, registered with the Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing Preference Service and given a direct contact officer within Trading Standards for her to check if she is unsure whether something is genuine or not.
With the lady’s permission, contact was made with her local Housing Officer and the current situation was discussed. During this discussion it was recognised that more training would be welcomed to try to understand the best approach to chronic hoarders as their numbers seem to be rising in the county. A discussion forum is now being established linking districts and county officers across Hampshire.
How can you protect others?
If you know of a vulnerable person who receives excessive unsolicited mail or telephone calls it could be because they are a victim. It is worth talking to them about it or making sure carers are aware that this could be a problem.
One of the problems can be convincing the victim that it is a scam. For a real life example of this see the Think Jessica web site.
The following online leaflets may also be helpful:
Register for Business Scam Alerts
Businesses beware too!
It's not just consumers who are targeted by the scammers, from business directory to office supply scams, fake invoice to domain name scams, businesses also lose thousands of pounds every year.
Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service operates a business scams alert warning network, which allows participants to be notified by email about any scams targeted specifically at businesses.
To be included please complete the online Business Scam Alert registration form.
Urgent Scam Warnings
How to report a scam email
(National Fraud Authority)