Spotting scams

by | 19 September 2019 | Citizens Advice, Retford, Worksop

National Citizens Advice says that the definition of a scam is: “an attempt to deceive a client into divulging valuable personal information or money through false pretences”.
More than half of all scams reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service in the last year used well-established, offline methods. These classic tactics from the scammers’ playbook include unsolicited doorstep selling, mail and cold calling, and saw people lose an average of almost £3,000.
People need to be aware of the common signs of a scam, such as:

  • Receiving an offer that sounds too good to be true
  • Being told to pay upfront for an item or service
  • Being asked for personal details such as passwords, bank details and other financial information such as pensions or shares.

Citizens Advice Bassetlaw have recently seen an increase in online scams, a recent example is of a of a fake fee request. They recently assisted a client who was approaching the age of 70 and had to renew their driving licence online. She believed that she found the correct link for the DVLA. This link asked for personal and financial details, so she paid the requested fee of £69.00 per for two applicants, being £138 in total. She later discovered that there is no fee and it is free to renew a licence when you reach 70 years of age. They worked with this client to report it to Action Fraud who is now investigating this matter.
If you’re worried that someone you know has become victim to a scam, look out for the following. Are they:

  • Receiving more mail than usual?
  • Receiving unsolicited calls or spending more time on the phone?
  • Struggling with money or have they withdrawn large amounts of cash recently?

Citizens Advice are encouraging people to report scams, so that action can be taken and they can get advice on how to try and get their money back.
Karen Whitlam, chief executive officer of Citizens Advice Bassetlaw said: “Stop, report, talk: Be scam aware is our message to people in Bassetlaw. We’re finding that although many people have come into contact with scammers, very few people are speaking up about this issue. People can sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed talking about, or reporting their experiences, but sadly this means scammers are getting away with taking money.
“In reality, all of us can have the bad luck of being targeted with a scam. We want to encourage people to share their stories and learn tips to stop scammers from running off with people’s money.”