The month of June has been designated Scams Awareness Month. During this month Trading Standards and The Consumer Council will be joining with other organisations to raise awareness and encourage people to report and talk about the issues.
Scams Awareness Month is an annual campaign bringing together organisations and consumers across the country to take a united stand against scams and fraud.
If you were unfortunate enough to fall victim to a scam or be targeted by scammers would you know who to report it to or speak to for advice? Research conducted by The Consumer Council reveals that less than half of us are aware of where to report a scam.
Sharon Muldoon from Trading Standards said: “Each year consumers who have been scammed or members of their families contact Consumerline. They may have been defrauded in a romance scam, a prize lottery or an investment scam. The impact on the victim can be massive, not only is there financial loss but also stress and misery. Many victims are embarrassed that they have been caught but it can actually happen to anyone.
“If you respond to just one scam, your details are entered onto a list which can be used by other scammers. These are referred to as “Sucker Lists”. It is important that you seek help to avoid been scammed in the future. Scams are ever changing and becoming more and more sophisticated. If we are made aware of them at Trading Standards then we can hopefully prevent someone else from becoming a victim.”
Dr Catriona MacArthur, Director of Consumer Insight, Empowerment and Protection at The Consumer Council, explains: “Scams are a growing problem, with Northern Ireland consumers commonly targeted via e-mail, telephone and fake websites. However, 51% of Northern Ireland consumers don’t know where to report a scam. Reporting scams is vitally important as it not only helps with catching fraudsters, but it can also help to alert others and prevent them from falling victim.”
To report a scam call 0300 123 6262 and / or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the Consumer Line website for more information .
For more information on spotting scams, download a copy of the “Know the signs, stop the crime" scams leaflet from the Consumer Council website or call freephone 0800 121 6022.
Notes to editors:
1. The Consumer Council and Trading Standards Service are part of the ScamwiseNI Partnership, which aims to make people wise to scams. It includes The Police Service of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Policing Board, Department of Justice, Commissioner of Older Persons, Age Sector Platform, Royal Mail and banking and financial organisations. For more information visit ScamwiseNI
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