Wigan residents are being urged to be extra vigilant and ensure they don’t fall victim to con artists.
That’s because June is Scams Awareness Month and this year’s theme is Don’t Miss a Trick, Be Scam-Aware.
Wigan Council’s trading standards team is advising residents to look out for the signs of a scam so they can be better prepared if they ever come into contact with a scammer.
National research by Citizens Advice has found scammers are using a variety of tactics to get people to part with their cash, with people losing an average of £2,500.
Over the past 12 months Wigan Council’s trading standards team have assisted 46 victims of doors step crime and scam victims, with a total known loss of £71,000.
A 91-year-old Shevington woman had been responding to scam mail for over 20 years, and had an estimate total loss of over £30,000. Now thanks to the trading standards team, the scam mail has virtually stopped.
A number of different methods have been used including cold-calls, telling people they have a computer virus which they can fix remotely in a bid to get their bank details.
Latest figures from the Crime Survey England and Wales show a seven per cent increase in the number of fraud offences to 662,519.
Coun Carl Sweeney, portfolio holder for environment, said: “Wigan Council is determined to protect vulnerable residents of the borough and stop these fraudsters from duping them out of their hard earned money. These people often have no morals whatsoever. Once a resident responds to their communication they will target them again and again.”
Anyone who thinks they may have been hit by a scam or are concerned that a friend or family member may has contact the Citizens’ Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.
Alternatively contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.
The 91-year-old was unaware of many of the scams and willingly handed her hard-earned money to the criminals. Her plight was revealed by trading standards officers after they intervened to stop the victim receiving junk mail at her family’s request.
They believe many of the dodgy schemes which lured her into handing over cash were peddled by letter.
They eventually contacted trading standards. The council team worked with the family to get the victim’s details removed from databases, which has now stopped the letters.
Scam mail can include fake lotteries, prize draws or investments. They may ask for your bank details or for you to ring a premium rate number to claim a prize.