Scams Awareness Campaign focuses on empowering consumers to be confident, alert and enable them to ‘stop, report and talk’ if they spot a scam. The campaign will focus on two target groups: the 'life-established (40s - 60s)', and those over 60.
- Stop and get advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline at 0808 223 1144
- Report scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or @actionfrauduk on Twitter.
- Talk with friends, family and neighbours about scams they’ve seen.
Scams are many and varied, with increasing complexity and sophistication. By arming people with the knowledge they need to recognise a scam, they can protect themselves and those around them, preventing harm in the first place. We want consumers to know how to spot the warning signs of a scam, and if they think they are being targeted to stop and seek advice on what to do next.
Data from a recent Crime Survey in England and Wales suggests that only around 13% of fraud incidents are reported by the victim, either to the police or Action Fraud. With so many scams left unreported, it creates an incomplete picture and reduces the ability of enforcement to effectively tackle fraud across the country. Confusion in the reporting system needs to be addressed. Consumers need to know how to report scams, not only to improve the quality of data collected to help tackle fraud, but to empower people to take action.
Scams can be highly sophisticated and often use social engineering to prey on people. Anyone can be vulnerable to scams, and yet we still don’t talk enough about them.
What is a scam?
A scam is a scheme to try to steal money, personal information or data from a person or organisation. Other names for a scam include fraud, hoax, con, swindle and cheat.
General facts about scams
- The National Audit Office (NAO) recently estimated that individuals lose £10 billion a year due to fraud.
- The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated there were 3.5 million incidents of fraud for the year ending September 2018.
- Data from a recent CSEW suggests that only around 13% of fraud incidents are reported by the victim, either to the police or Action Fraud.
There are three things that consumers can do if they suspect they’re the target of a scam:
- Get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06, or on 03454 04 05 05 for a Welsh-speaking adviser. You can also get advice and information online on the Citizens Advise website. The Citizens Advice consumer service can also report problems to Trading Standards for you. Trading Standards are responsible for protecting consumers and the community against rogue and unfair traders.
- Report scams and suspected scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime. (If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam the consumer’s first step should be to contact their bank or credit card company. If the scam is a pension transfer, they need to contact the provider immediately, along with the Pensions Advisory Service).
- Tell family, friends, neighbours so that they can avoid scams and find out how to protect themselves.
Ways to cut down unwanted contacts
- Always check any forms that you fill in for tick boxes that say something like “I give permission for third parties to contact me by phone” or “I give you permission to contact me by email”. Don’t tick the boxes if you don’t want to be contacted.
- Phone calls
- Register their number with the Telephone Preference Service at www.tpsonline.org.uk or 0345 070 0707. They can also register their mobile by texting ‘TPS’ and their email address to 85095.
- Report unsolicited marketing calls to the Information Commissioner’s Office or 0303 123 1113.
- Use a product to block telephone calls:
- Your phone company may have a blocking service or help available to protect people from nuisance calls. Call your companies customer service helpline to find out.
- People who want to report potential scam mail can write to Royal Mail at: Freepost Scam Mail. Phone: 0800 0113466 (message service only) or email email@example.com. They can also report it to the Citizens Advice consumer service.
- The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is free and may help reduce unsolicited mail or 0207 291 3310.
- To opt out from receiving ‘Door to Door’ unaddressed mail delivered by Royal Mail visit their website or call 0345 266 0858.
- To opt out of deliveries from unaddressed mail distributors consumers can register with “Your Choice” preference scheme Direct Marketing Association (UK) Ltd. or 020 7291 3300.
- ‘No cold calling’ door stickers. Some Trading Standards services or community police teams provide these.
- Opt-out of the open voting register. This is an edited version of the electoral register that’s available to anyone who wants to buy a copy. To opt-out contact your local Electoral Registration Office.
Help for people who have been scammed
- Think Jessica is a charity protecting elderly and vulnerable people from scams which come through the postal system and by telephone.
- Victim Support gives free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected across England and Wales. Call 0808 1689 111.
- Age UK has local branches around the UK providing help and support for older people.
- The Silver Line is a free 24–hour dedicated helpline for older people across the UK. Call 08004708090. The website provides information and befriending for elderly people.
- Royal Voluntary Service offers a befriending
Stop, report, talk. Be scam aware. Follow #scamaware for tips on spotting scams, and how to report them when you do. For more information, visit the Citizens Advice website