Phone scams have been doing the rounds for years but people are still being sucked in particularly when it comes to claims of ‘free’ money.
Plymouth trading standards officers are now regularly seeing people who have been conned by scammers claiming that they could be owed money for things like repayment of bank charges or payment protection insurance, but first they always ask for an up-front payment to enable them to receive the money.
Some Plymouth consumers are also being approached via the telephone to invest in precious stones like diamonds or in expensive wines, which they are told would increase in value over the years. The results are the consumer receives very poor quality stones or in the case of wines, they receive nothing at all.
Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “These are callous fraudsters who target people they believe are vulnerable to scams, often preying on people who might already be struggling with debt. While their frauds are becoming increasingly sophisticated, remember that any genuine organisation will never approach you asking for financial information or money transfer payments. The simple rule remains, if a call like this comes out of nowhere and seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance it could be scam.”
As part of Scam Awareness month Plymouth Trading standards officers are reminding people to be vigilant when dealing with unsolicited phone calls.
Mr Roberts contacted his local MP after receiving 14 unsolicited phone calls in one day. The case was referred to Trading Standards who assessed the amount of calls being received by Mr Roberts and were able to install a call blocker device due to the high volume. At the time of the visit the officers were able to witness two phone calls in the time they were there. Mr Roberts said: “The amount of phone calls I was receiving each day was really intrusive. I felt I had to answer the phone in case it was someone other than the scammers, trying to contact me. Some of the callers were very rude and it got to the point we dreaded the sound of the phone ringing.”
The warning is simple do not to pass on personal or financial details to these types of callers. If you have already done so, contact your bank immediately to stop or check any unauthorised transactions. Do not transfer money unless you are absolutely confident the company is legitimate.
If anyone is a victim of Fraud they need to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or via their website www.adviceguide.org.uk. Alternatively you can contact Action Fraud on 0300123 2040 or via their website at www.actionfraud.police.uk/