Every year Citizens Advice runs Scams Awareness Fortnight with the Consumer Protection Partnership. Our guest explains how organisations are taking a stand together.
This is a guest post by Alex Smith/Citizens Advice. All views expressed are their own and not necessarily shared by Which?.
That’s why every year Citizens Advice runs Scams Awareness Fortnight with the Consumer Protection Partnership, joining forces with organisations such as Trading Standards to take a united stand against these crimes.
Scams come in many forms and are increasingly complex and sophisticated. We want to make sure people have the knowledge they need to recognise them and, if they think they are being targeted, know what they can do to stop them.
Empowering the public to protect themselves and others from scams is more important than ever this year because of the current coronavirus crisis.
People are worried about their families, health, money and work, so it might take longer than usual to realise something isn’t right. Scammers seek to exploit vulnerability and uncertainty, and this is no exception.
Which scams has Citizens Advice seen recently?
Much like Which?, many people come to us for advice when they’ve been victims of fraud. Their stories show how scammers have been taking advantage of people’s worries over the past few months:
⚠ Sales of face masks or medical equipment that never arrive
⚠ Emails or texts pretending to be offering support from the government
⚠ People knocking at your door and asking for money for fake charities
How can we protect ourselves together?
As Which? also frequently warns, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you.
🚫 Don’t be rushed into making quick decisions
🚫 Never give your personal details or money to anyone you don’t know or trust
✅ Pay by debit or credit card. This can give you extra protection if things go wrong
✅ Be suspicious: scammers may say all the right things, but take your time to work out if they’re genuine
✅ Make sure you’re cyber secure. Check your antivirus software is up-to-date and make sure you have a strong password for your email accounts that you don’t use anywhere else
Remember, if you’re not sure about something, it’s okay to take your time. Seek advice from a trusted source before you make any big decisions, for example by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or online.
Dealing with scams
If you think you or someone you know has been scammed, there are steps you can take to stop things getting worse.
Advice from Which? on how to get your money back after a scam is also available.
If payment or banking details are involved it’s important to contact your bank, credit card company, or pensions provider immediately. By acting immediately, you might be able to recover some of the money you lost.
You should also report all types of scams to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud. They can use this information to help tackle scams on a larger scale, protecting others from future harm.
By being scam aware and joining together, we can take a stand against scammers – not just during Scams Awareness Fortnight, but all year round.
Have you been targeted by any scams since the start of the coronavirus outbreak? What are you doing to protect yourselves and others from them?
Let us know in the comments.
This was a guest post by Alex Smith/Citizens Advice. All views expressed were their own and not necessarily shared by Which?.