Not for Profit

Published: June 22, 2020 | Updated: June 22, 2020

Be aware 2: Citizens Advice issue scam alert as more than a third are target since lockdown

By Andrew Diprose, editor

One in three people – 36 per cent – in the south west have been the target of a scam since lockdown came into effect across the country according to Citizens Advice Dorset.

More than half of people (58 per cent) are worried someone they know will fall foul of a con.

And a large majority of people (88 per cent) reported they felt wary of coronavirus scams.

As part of #ScamAware fortnight which runs until June 28, Citizens Advice across Dorset and Trading Standards are encouraging people to talk about their experiences and look out for others they think could be at risk.

Rovarn Wickremasinghe, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Bridport, pictured left, said: “Our data shows that the last few months have been very difficult for a lot of people across Dorset.

“Despite this, we’ve seen appalling evidence of opportunistic scammers taking advantage of people’s worries and concerns.

“One third of people in the South West have been targeted by a scam since lockdown began, showing we all need to be on high alert.

“It’s really important we all do our bit and report anything that looks like a con when we see it.

“By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks.”

To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, Citizens Advice Dorset and Trading Standards are sharing the following tips on how to spot them.

If you’re worried you, or someone you know, could be getting scammed take the following steps:

  • Look into installing a call blocker to help combat telephone scams
  • Talk to your, or their, bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards
  • Report the scam to Citizens Advice who will give you advice on what to do next and report the scam to Trading Standards
  • Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
  • If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts Citizens Advice may be able to help

You can also take the following steps to safeguard yourself and others:

  • Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Never send money to someone you’ve never met
  • Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you
  • Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away and if you feel pressured say “no”
  • Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call
  • Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams