People in Nottingham are being warned to keep an eye out for scammers, following a number of cases in the city.
Designed to con consumers out of their money, scams are conducted via post, the internet, and by telephone to name but a few methods. In Nottingham City alone, there have been a number of recent cases where elderly, lonely and vulnerable consumers have been caught in the scammers web of deceit, lies, fear and shame.
One elderly victim had been duped to such an extent that after spending £600 per month on entering the ‘Australian Lottery’ (that doesn’t actually exist) she believed the scammers when they informed her she was the lucky grand prize winner of the Australian lottery and had won millions of pounds. She was even expecting a trip to Australia to collect her winnings. Needless to say that trip never came and the alleged winnings never arrived. The only thing that has changed for this consumer is that control of her finances were passed to a third party as the victim was at risk of losing their home if they continued to respond to this heartless fraud.
Another victim of the bogus Australian lottery who was assisted by Community Protections Trading Standards Service has said:
“After we stopped sending money to those scam people, they sent us a £10 note in the post as a sweetener to encourage us to carry on with their scam, but we won’t be doing it any more. Those scammers are abusing people. We’re saving the money we would have sent to the scammers and are planning a holiday instead.”
In other cases dealt with by the Community Protection Trading Standards Service, the scammers have even turned up at victims homes as part of an intricate courier fraud. In these cases, victims were led to believe their bank accounts were in jeopardy and were informed by the scammers who were posing as police and Trading Standards Officers that a courier would collect their bank cards and pin numbers to keep them safe.
In Nottingham City, Community Protection Trading Standards Service are continuing to support a number of residents targeted by lottery scams, mail order vitamin scams, a bogus call blocker scam, a dating scam and a number of prize draw scams. They are reminding people to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for scammers as they mark Scams Awareness Month this July.
In addition, the Service is also working in conjunction with the National Trading Standards Scams Team to protect City residents, and are currently working through a list of several hundred names of residents that have been found on a mailing list used by scammers.
To help combat scams in the Nottingham City area, residents are being asked to remain vigilant and to speak out about the issue. Scammers rely on secrecy, fear and their target being too embarrassed to report the matter in order to keep the scam going. The National Scams Team estimates that the detriment to UK consumers as a result of these scams is as much as £10 Billion a year. It is also believed the issue is also widely under reported.
As the work of Trading Standards is intelligence led, if you or someone you know is being targeted by a scam let Nottingham City Trading Standards Service know! Don’t suffer in silence – action is being taken at both a local and national level to tackle scams by working with other agencies to cause disruption by closing down mail accounts, blocking telephone numbers used in scams, and where possible, by taking enforcement action – but this work can only be done with help from the public.
Any information regarding a scam can be reported in confidence via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or by using the online reporting form found at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk
To find out more about how you can spread the message about scams and support victims, please see the National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative ‘Friends Against Scams’ at https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/
Further information and advice about scams is also available by visiting the Think Jessica website at http://www.thinkjessica.com/