Consumers encouraged to expose scam artists - Money - News - Moneyfacts

News

Consumers encouraged to expose scam artists

Consumers encouraged to expose scam artists

Category: Money

Updated: 01/02/2011
First Published: 01/02/2011

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Consumers are being urged to help expose con-artists, as new figures show that many people are still falling for money scams.

Research by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found that one in 20 people lost money to a scam last year, with the majority saying the realistic nature of the con was the top reason for handing over cash.

Of those who reported falling victim to a money scam, 7% lost more than £4,000.

Almost four in ten (39%) people who lost money to a scam in the last 12 months were a victim of a money transfer or advance fee scam.

The cons work by duping people into handing over their bank details or paying an up-front fee by leading them to believe they are entitled to an inheritance, donating to charity or even helping release funds from a corrupt country.

People being conned into handing their money over to participate in prize draws and sweepstakes was also a common complaint.

The research reveals the scale of the problem with mass-marketed scams in Britain, which arrive by post, email, text, phone or the internet and aim to con people into parting with their cash.

People that suspect they have being targeted are being encouraged to drop scam mailings they have received into 'Scamnesty' bins or boxes at local libraries and public areas across the country.

Eighty-six local authority Trading Standards Services (TSS) have signed up to the scheme as part of this year's Scams Awareness Month.

You can see participating TSS' at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/scamnesty

"Scams can have a devastating impact on people's lives," said Esther Rantzen, who is supporting the campaign.

"The conmen often deliberately target older people or people who are especially vulnerable. Stigma or embarrassment can wrongly make victims think they are to blame, and discourage them from reporting these crimes or seeking help.

"No-one should feel like this. I want people to feel able to speak to their friends, family and neighbours so that we can put these con-artists out of business."

The OFT has released the following advice for people who think they may be a target of a money scam:

  • Stop, think and be sceptical. If something sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Do not be rushed into sending off money to someone you do not know, however plausible they might sound and even where an approach is personalised.
  • Ask yourself how likely it is that you have been especially chosen for this offer - thousands of other people will probably have received the same offer.
  • Think about how much money you could lose from replying to a potential scam - it's not a gamble worth taking.
  • If you are unsure of an offer, speak to family or friends and seek advice from Consumer Direct before sending any money or giving out any banking or credit card details.

Find the best financial information for you -Compare Financial Solutions


Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

Related Articles

Money worries lead to Christmas on credit

Money worries are putting Christmas at risk for up to five million Brits, with 10% saying they regularly worry about money in the lead up to Christmas, and the same proportion feeling stressed about how much they are spending.

Would you spend more for a character property?

We all have our own ideas of what makes a dream home, and for many, character features are at the top of the list. But how much more would you be willing to pay for those kinds of additions – and could they even help you save money in the future?

A quarter of Brits have fallen victim to a scam

Think you know how to spot a scam? It may not be as easy as you’d think, with 25% of Brits admitting that they’ve been the victim of one in the past, and a further 73% are concerned about being scammed in the future.
 
Close