Speak out and stand up to scams | Oxfordshire County Council

Speak out and stand up to scams

Published 23 February 2016

Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team is encouraging everyone to take a stand against scams this leap year as part of National Safeguarding day on 29th February.

They are urging anyone who has been the victim of a scam or an attempted scam and people who care for scam victims to speak out.

Every year scams  lead to losses of around  £9 billion for UK consumers  and can have a devastating psychological effects on the victims .

Oxfordshire Trading Standards has identified 350 scams victims within the county.  These statistics highlight the extent of the crime and the increasing support required for victims.

In a bid to beat the scammers,  the team has made it a priority  to give a voice to  victims and to encourage potential victims and those who may care for them to speak out to identify, prevent and report these crimes.

Anyone can be a victim of a scam, but the National Trading Standards Scams Team has revealed the average age of a victim is 74.  By taking advantage of their vulnerability, criminals use a variety of deceitful methods to encourage people to part with thousands of pounds.  In one instance the National Trading Standards Scams Team revealed that after months of grooming and false promises an elderly victim parted with £1 million pounds to a fake lottery scam company.

Locally Oxfordshire Trading Standards have  supported  several victims who have responded to scam mail in the forms of prize draws  with losses in excess of £100,000. They have also supported victims who have fallen for gold coin scams, timeshare resale scams and clairvoyant/psychic  scams.

Trading Standards Operations Manager Jody Kerman said:” Unfortunately situations such as these are common and can have shattering effects on a victim’s life.  Not only can they lose their life savings but also lose the confidence to leave their home and in some instances develop health issues such as anxiety and depression .  As devastating as these incidents are, scams are massively underreported.  It is estimated that roughly 1 in 20 people fall victim to scams every year, but fewer than 5% of victims report their experience.

“By supporting the National Safeguarding Day, Oxfordshire Trading Standards wants to increase reporting by raising awareness of this crime. Through the dedication of the Local Authority and the community as a whole, victims of these crimes can be identified and get the help they need.  Increased awareness will prevent the most vulnerable becoming victims and eventually the criminals responsible for so much suffering will be brought to justice

“Play your part and take a stand against scams by being aware about how to spot one.  Here are some things to look out for:”

  • Out of the blue phone calls, letters and emails
  • Being asked to send money to claim a prize
  • Being told of winnings when a competition wasn’t entered
  • Too good to be true offers
  • Pressure selling
  • Uninvited door step callers
  • Being asked share your personal details
  • Secrecy

 

If you suspect a scam or think you or someone you know has been a victim of a scam, please report it to the Citizens Consumer Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 20 40.

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