Citizens Advice Leighton-Linslade is urging locals to spread the word about scams and expose the tactics of fraudsters to protect others.
July is Scams Awareness Month and research by Citizens Advice finds scammers are using a variety of tactics to get people to part with their cash, with people losing an average of £2,500 across all types of scam.
Scam methods include vishing whereby scammers cold-call people in a bid to get their bank details (see examples in Leighton below), and offers of fake services, such as telling people their computer has a virus which they can fix remotely.
Investment scams carried the highest price tag, with people investing in fake diamonds or bogus stocks and shares losing of on average £20,000 each.
During July Citizens Advice Leighton-Linslade will be using their website and social media to publish examples of real-life
scams that have affected local people.
The campaign is being led by Advice Services Manager, Karen Banfield who said: “Fraudsters use sophisticated techniques to con people and because they vary their methods, it can be tricky to spot when something is a scam. If you come across something
that seems suspicious, seek advice so you don’t put yourself at risk.
“It’s vital to report scams and spread the word so we can clampdown on con artists and stop others falling into the same traps.”
Suspected scams can be reported to Citizens Advice in Leighton-Linslade or to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Citizens Advice Leighton-Linslade (CALL) can also help with a wide range of other issues and are located at Bossard House, West Street, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1DA.
Opening hours for drop-in are Monday 10am to 1pm and 4pm to 6.30pm; Tuesday to Thursday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm; Friday 10am to 1pm. Their Advice Line is 01525 373878 or go to www.leightonlinsladecab.org.uk for more details of their
Reports by clients of the Leighton branch include:
> An 80-year-old lady was cold called but they stopped when she told them she was with the Telephone Preference Service.
A few days later, she had a call, pretending to be from the Telephone Preference Service, telling her she needed to renew her subscription.
She was wise enough to know that the service is free, so realised that the caller was trying to scam her out of money. Luckily she didn’t fall for it, but it can be easy to step into the scammers traps as they can sound very convincing. Never give bank details over the phone to someone who has rung you out of the blue.
> A lady received an email from an organisation that said they’d realised her credit card had expired. They warned that, as it was the only payment method for her account, if she didn’t provide them with up to date card information, the service would cease.
They provided a link for her to update the details and also how she could add a new card. In this instance, the lady didn’t use the services of the organisation in question, so could easily spot it was a scam. But if they’d used a more common company name it could have been very different and she could have lost a lot of money.
If you are asked for bank or credit card details from an email be cautious and go to the company’s official website to update your details.
> Have you ever fell foul of a scam attempt or fended one off? Email email@example.com