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8 May 2014, 10:57
Throughout May, West Yorkshire Trading Standards is warning residents to be on the look out for rogues who are ripping people off under the guise of various seemingly legitimate offers.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards has seen the emergence of scam mailings, bogus emails and fraudulent phone calls, brought to light through a series of interactive workshops being delivered across the district to local residents.
As part of the financial Fitness initiative being delivered across Kirklees, Leeds and Bradford, community members have been learning how to spot the hallmarks of a scam, empowering themselves with the skills they need to protect themselves and to look out for others who might be vulnerable to falling foul of unscrupulous scammers.
Older residents across Leeds and Bradford are also engaging with the interactive, hands on SAFER workshops in a bid to raise awareness of scams emerging locally and improve financial health, whilst engaging with others, sharing tips and advice.
It is estimated that nearly half of the people in the UK (48%) have been targeted by a scam.
Crime figures show nearly a 60% rise in reported fraud over the past 5 years- boosted by identity theft and online scams.
Every year more than 3 million people in the UK fall victims to scams losing hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds.
The Citizens Advice Service says just 5% of scams are reported and are wanting more people to report them and not to suffer in silence.
Citizens Advice Service and Trading Standards are running Scams Awareness Month throughout May warning people to be ever-vigilant against rogues and scams, urging people to help 'spot them and stop them'. They will be reminding people that scams come in all shapes and sizes, including adverts, people knocking on your door, emails, letters, phone calls, texts and over the internet.
CABs and Trading Standards officers will be warning people to look out for key signs that something is a scam, such as being contacted out of the blue, requests for money in advance or telling you to 'keep it a secret', and have released some top tips on how to spot a scam and protect themselves from rogues.
What to do if you have been scammed
David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards said:
'People are seeing their money go down the drain as con artists rip them off by promising lottery wins, work on their home or a new job only to find there is nothing at the end.
'As budgets are squeezed nationally, it is more important than ever that our cash does not end up in the wrong hands. This month we are reinforcing the message for people to be on the lookout for rogues hoping to make a quick buck and remind residents that scams are crimes, it is vital they are reported.'