Did you know that every 15 seconds someone in the UK loses money to a scam? And it’s not just the elderly who are at risk – we all are. Unfortunately nowadays, there are more and more ways for scammers to con us, and they’re so convincing.

People get scammed face-to-face, over the phone, through the post, on websites, via email and text. And the impact can be devastating, leaving you financially worse off, but also embarrassed, alone, and scared. But we don’t want you to be scared, just #ScamAware, and we certainly don’t want you to be too scared to report it.

What to look out for

  • something that has come out of the blue or from someone you don’t know

  • things sounding out of the ordinary — like you’ve won the lottery
  • requests to pay in advance — especially by bank transfer or gift vouchers

  • requests for personal information, like bank details
  • urgency to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think or talk to family and friends

  • being asked to phone an expensive number

Join us in libraries

Our trading standards officers will be in libraries near you over the next couple of weeks, raising awareness of different scams and advising on how to avoid and report them. There will be a community banker from Natwest there too, who you can also chat to.

Doris’ story

To mark Scams Awareness Fortnight, 10-23 June, we are sharing 95-year-old Doris’ story. Doris lives alone in Eastbourne and in just a matter of months she was intimidated and confused into starting 12 new contracts with different companies over the phone, none of which she needed. The companies were so persuasive that despite her suspicions Doris opened all 12 new contracts and gave out her card details. She was left several hundred pounds down, confused and anxious. But she raised her concerns and our Trading Standards swiftly recovered and returned £568.95. All her personal details were taken off each of the companies’ databases and they all agreed not to contact her again. Trading standards also installed a call blocker onto her phone to prevent future calls from these and other potential scammers.

Report it

Doris is just one of hundreds of residents who reported scams last year. Between 2018 and 2019 over £1 million was lost to scams in this county. And that’s just the scams we know about – more than 85% are left unreported. So if you know or think you’ve been scammed, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk. You are not wasting anyone’s time. They want and need to know. The more they know, the more they can do to stop it!

You can also get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06