Avoiding Scams

Below is a summary of things learnt from the November 2016 Trading Standards Conference in Wycombe compiled by Jane Osborn of Lane End 
Don’t be a sucker!
What is a scam and how do you recognize one? Scams come in all shapes and sizes and
here are three examples.
“You won’t believe it….but read this letter anyway which is worth its weight in gold”.
“In spite of her doubts, Mrs Bloggs requested the [offer] and became very rich shortly after”.
“Hurry….such an opportunity will probably never come around a second time and you would
regret it for the rest of your life”.
Sadly, we live in an increasingly cynical world. How many of us have received telephone calls,
emails, letters or doorstep calls – the four most common type of scams - offering fantastic
special deals, super expectations and fabulously cheap offers which are too good to be true?
I suspect we all have and I also suspect that some of us have fallen for the ‘deal’ and we are
just too proud to either admit it or tell anyone else about it AND THAT IS WHAT THE
It will never happen to me –I’m far too street savvy! I wouldn’t allow it! I would see straight
through it! At my age, I’ve seen it all before. Really? Have a look at a few statistics
  •  Consumers lose £5-10 billions to scams each year.
  •  The average age of those targeted by scams is 75 – with only 5% of these being
  • reported to the authorities
  •  53% of the over 65s will be targeted
So how do your details get on what is know as a ‘suckers list’ – one way would be via a
perfectly legitimate purchase – such as a knee support disability aid advertised in the national
press – and then your details are ‘sold on’ to others. This happened to the relative of a senior
Trading Standards Officer who specializes in scams so it can happen to anyone.
Don’t get caught out by a scam; protect yourself against fraud (which is what a scam is) and
follow these simple rules:
  •  Never ever disclose your security details – bank account numbers, sort codes, social
security number etc
  •  Don’t assume anything is genuine – be cynical!
  •  Don’t be rushed – scammers rely on ‘pressurising’ you to make a decision.
  •  Listen to your instincts – if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is
Stay in control. Stop – think – have a cuppa – sleep on it and if unsure – go with your
instinct OR talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau or go on-line and visit the Friends Against
Scams website – www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk

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