Don't Let Crooks Catch You Out

Advice on avoiding being conned during Scams Awareness Month

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Scams Awareness Month

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Hammersmith and Fulham Trading Standards

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May has been designated Scams Awareness Month and Hammersmith and Fulham Council is warning residents to be vigilant and avoid becoming a victim of crime.

Fraud offences in England and Wales rose by 25% in 2013, compared to the previous year, with 207,252 cases reported to Action Fraud. But nationally the Citizens Advice Bureau has calculated up to four million people could be scammed each year as many scams go unreported.

H&F Council’s Trading Standards team is warning people to watch out for non-secure websites that ask for financial details, as well as realising that scammers use the phone and email to carry out fraud, and can turn up on your doorstep.

Counterfeit cashier cheques, fraudulent lenders offering loans to get hold of personal details, dating scams, ticket cons and computer hacking were among commonly reported scams. Online shopping and auction fraud was the biggest single fraud type with almost 40,000 recorded cases.

Top tips for dealing with scams:

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Never give out your bank details or send money unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you.

Contacted out of the blue? Be suspicious.

Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card, ask for your PIN or come to your home.

Make sure the website’s secure, if you are buying online – check for the padlock or “https” next to the web address

It you haven’t bought a ticket, you can’t win it.

You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize.

Pressure to make a decision straight away? Take your time and just say: “No thank you”.

Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance.

Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.

Don’t suffer in silence – tell others about scams.

For more information on scams and tips on how to stay safe, you can download the ‘Little Book of Big Scams via the H&F Neighbourhood Watch website

If you think you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to help stop it happening to others.

Get advice and report scams to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or online advice here

For more information, visit Hammersmith and Fulham Trading Standards.

May 9, 2014