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July is National Scams Awareness Month 2016: What is a Scam Artist?

SCAMMERS who have hit Stratford-upon-Avon and district over recent weeks will come under scrutiny when Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service supports National Scams Awareness Month in July.

The county council will be raising awareness of the ways criminal gangs seek to part Warwickshire people from their hard earned cash and answering the question, ‘What is a Scam Artist?’

Warwickshire County Councillor John Horner, portfolio holder for community safety said: "Whether it's a bogus phone call from 'HMRC', a fake lottery win, a virus infected email or a rogue trader on the doorstep, fraudsters are becoming ever more resourceful, manipulative and enterprising."

Warwickshire County Councillor Philip Johnson, chair of the council’s communities overview and scrutiny committee added: "In support of national Scams Awareness Month, Warwickshire Trading Standards will be seeking to ensure that residents and businesses are able to spot new and existing scams and know how to protect themselves."

In the past twelve months, Warwickshire Trading Standards has received over 500 complaints about doorstep crime, bogus mail, internet scams and telephone cons.

However, it’s estimated that this figure is the tip of the iceberg - the vast majority of scams are never reported. To keep up to date with Scams Awareness Month 2016 and receive information, advice and the latest scam alerts direct to your email inbox, subscribe to our free to receive email alert service, visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams

What is a scam artist? Whatever the scam, all fraudsters operate in similar ways:

  • Scam artists are well organised with researched telephone scripts and professional personalised marketing materials and mailings to appear legitimate.
  • Scam artists are only after your money, so watch out for requests for money up front, often called ‘administration’ or ‘processing fees’.
  • Scam artists want to be your best friend. They will be more excited than you about your ‘good luck’ and use psychological tricks to part you from your money.
  • Scam artists don’t know you and they don’t want you to know who they are. The approach letter or telephone call will come out of the blue and often from overseas.
  • Scam artists have a believable answer to every one of your questions. The scam artist is a practiced con-man.
  • Scam artists try to rush you into a decision. Don’t be pressured into signing anything or sending any money.
  • Scam artists will steal your trust as well as your money. They will pretend to be officials from the government, the police, a bank or a genuine company so that you will trust them.
  • Scam artists will steal your personal information and use your details for fraud. Do not give out your personal bank account or credit card details to someone you don’t know or trust and never to cold callers!
  • Scam artists target everyone. There is a scam for everyone. Don’t think you cannot be conned – no one is immune. Be sceptical about any ‘too good to be true offer’.

For scams advice, visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams

Consumers and businesses wishing to make a scam complaint should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/consumer

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