Scams related to current financial crisis
West Sussex County Council Trading Standards officers will be holding two events to warn about the increased risk of scams related to the current cost-of-living crisis. The events are being held during Scams Awareness Fortnight (13-26 June); an annual campaign run by Citizens Advice with the Consumer Protection Partnership.
A scam is a scheme to try to steal money, personal information or data from a person or organisation. As residents across the county face increased levels of financial pressure, scammers could use this pressure to take advantage of vulnerable individuals.
There are lots of different types of scams emerging. These include:
- Scammers pretending to be energy companies, luring people with “too good to be true” deals in order to steal their money.
- Fake sales representatives selling counterfeit shopping vouchers.
- Fraudsters sending out phishing emails pretending to offer an energy rebate or government support in order to obtain people’s personal information.
The importance of scams awareness
Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards Team Manager said “Helping residents of West Sussex avoid being scammed has always been something we have supported, but in times of difficulty, such as the pandemic, recessions, and in this case the cost-of-living crisis, we often see a corresponding increase in related scams.
“Citizens Advice found in the first five months of 2021 that more than two thirds of adults (36 million) had been targeted by a scam. Within this, while over 55s were most likely to be targeted, those 34 and under were almost five times more likely to fall victim to a scam than their older counterparts.
“Whatever age you are, being #ScamAware is so important, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed if it happens to us as there are ways to report this and get support. If you have received scam mail or phone calls, then you can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 for support and advice.”
Scams Awareness Fortnight events
Trading Standards will be out at the following locations over the fortnight to help people with scams awareness:
- Tesco Superstore, Shripney Road, Bognor Regis from 10.30am – 12.30pm on Friday 17 June 2022. (sussexlocal.net/events/scams-awareness-fortnight-week-1-bognor-regis)
- Tesco Superstore, Jane Murray Way, Burgess Hill from 10.30am – 12.30pm on Monday 20 June 2022. (sussexlocal.net/events/scams-awareness-fortnight-week-2-burgess-hill)
Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “Scams Awareness Fortnight is about getting the message out to residents far and wide to stay vigilant when people phone, email or come to their door with ‘too good to be true’ offers which supposedly will help them with household financial pressures.
“It is vital to equip individuals with the knowledge to help them stay safe. If we can help people recognise and take the right action when dealing with a scam or encourage more people to talk about their experiences being scammed to help raise awareness, then we are taking a giant step forward in making sure less and less people in West Sussex fall victim to scammers.”
To check if something might be a scam visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk and search for ‘Check if something might be a scam’ and if you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
You can report illegal or undesirable trading activity direct to West Sussex Trading Standards Service at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport.