“Stop, report, talk: Be #ScamAware” says your local Citizens Advice service

According to research, 62% of people in the North West have been approached by a scammer in the last two years finds the Citizens Advice service working across Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford.  Worryingly, of those targeted, only 49% of people spoke to anyone about it.

Under the slogan “Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware” the local charity is encouraging people to talk about their experiences and look out for others, particularly the more vulnerable people.

More than half of all scams reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service in the last year used well-established, offline methods.  These classic tactics from the scammers’ playbook include unsolicited doorstep selling, mail and cold calling, and saw people lose an average of almost £3,000.

Fraudsters using these methods are known to overwhelmingly target older, more vulnerable people.

‘Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware’ is our message to local residents

“We’re finding that although many people have come into contact with scammers, very few people are speaking up about this issue.

“People can sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed reporting their experiences, but sadly this means perpetrators are getting away scot-free.”

“In reality, all of us can have the bad luck of being targeted with a scam. We hope this Scams Awareness campaign will encourage people to share their stories and learn tips to stop scammers from running off with people’s money.”
— Steve Hughes - Chief Executive, Citizens Advice Stockport

To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, the charity is sharing the following tips on how to spot them.

If you’re worried that someone you know has become victim to a scam, look out for the following. Are they:

  • Receiving more mail than usual?

  • Receiving unsolicited calls or spending more time on the phone?

  • Struggling with money or have they withdrawn large amounts of cash recently?

If you think someone you know is being scammed, take the following steps:

  • If you’re worried about telephone scams look into installing a call blocker

  • Encourage them to tell their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards

  • Report the scam to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or by phone on 03454 04 05 06. They 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 they’re struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts encourage them to visit their local Citizens Advice

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

Notes to editors:

Contact: press@castockport.org.uk

  • 19,496 potential scam cases were reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service in 2018, an 8% increase on the 18,075 reported in 2017. All figures in relation to total number of scams relate to year-on-year data.

  • Further analysis of data relates to the Citizens Advice consumer service figures between July and September 2018.

  • Citizens Advice commissioned Populus who conducted an online sample of 2,016 GB adults 18+ between 24th and 27th May 2019.  Data is weighted to be representative of the population of Great Britain. Targets for quotas and weights are taken from the National Readership Survey, a random probability F2F survey conducted annually with 34,000 adults.  Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by it rules. For further information see http://www.britishpollingcouncil.org/

  • Figures regarding demographic makeup of those affected by scams can be found inCitizens Advice 2017 research ‘Changing the story on scams.’

  • The Citizens Advice service covering Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford is a partnership including Citizens Advice Pennine West and Citizens Advice Stockport working together through a formal collaboration agreement to jointly deliver services in the local authority areas.

  • Together in 2018/19, the charity helped 35,000 unique clients with 74,500 issues

  • The top three advice issues are; Benefits & Tax Credits (includes Universal Credit), Debt, and Housing.

  • In 2018/19 across Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford £10.1 million extra income was gained by 1,700 clients.  The service also supported £3 million worth of debt to be written off or rescheduled for 200 clients.

  • You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers

Steve Hughes