As Scams Awareness Month launches the message from Wealden Citizens Advice is ‘don’t miss a trick’.
A total of 1,200 financial and legal scams were reported in 2017/18 – a 6% increase.
In recent months Wealden Citizens Advice have become aware of several scams targeting local people, including:
- A site posing as HM Revenue & Customs (HRRC) sending emails to say that you may be entitled to a tax refund.
- Cold calling from HMRC stating that you will be prosecuted for non-payment of tax, press one for more information.
- Fake emails and telephone calls purporting to be from BT stating that there is a problem with the account and if no further action is taken the account will be closed.
- Unsolicited mobile phone calls received from someone stating that they are from Citizens Advice who when challenged immediately hung up.
- Unsolicited emails and text messages being sent out from DVLA attempting to trick drivers into providing and updating their personal details via an online link.
Chief Executive of Wealden Citizens Advice, Kay Birch, said:
Scammers can make for convincing white collar professionals, especially online, and are skilled at persuading people they are legitimate. The stakes are high with financial and legal scams as you can end up losing your savings or pension fund, which can put your long-term financial stability at risk.
To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, Wealden Citizens Advice is sharing tips on how to spot them:
- Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
- Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away
- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
- Never send money to someone you have never met
- Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you
- Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance
- Genuine computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer
- Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call
- Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No Thank You”
- Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams
If you think you have been scammed you can get advice by the ADVICELINE on 03444 111 444 or dropping into their offices on Croham Road in Crowborough.