Poole Trading Standards advise Poole residents to avoid common scams: "Don't be rushed, Don't be hushed." They encourage victims of scams to come forward and report them, as well as reminding residents to take their time and consider offers presented by potential scammers before handing over money or personal information.
Around £10 billion is lost by UK victims of phone and scam mail every year. Bogus overseas lotteries, catalogue scams and other special offers for vastly overpriced products that never materialise are just some of the ways in which more than three million people are tricked out of their money.
About a third of overall scams in the UK are carried out via the internet or email. It can be difficult to spot the difference between genuine websites or emails and the fake ones designed to identically replicate our own banks, for example, to trick us into giving out passwords.
Poole Trading Standards have been working hard to put rogue traders out of business with a number of successful prosecutions locally. Recently, rogue traders have been found to cold call at an address offering often unnecessary and poor quality work to the residents, which they are then overcharged for. It is not unusual for doorstep fraudsters to start work to a driveway, property, or garden as soon as the victim shows an interest, making it very difficult for them to back out, even though they usually have a legal right to do so.
Conservative Councillor for Creekmoor ward John Rampton holds the Cabinet Portfolio for Consumer Protection in the Borough of Poole. He says:
"No one should feel ashamed of being scammed or suffer in silence, but with just an estimated five per cent of all scams reported, the council is very keen to support this year's campaign to encourage more people to come forward. Scams are very sophisticated and fraudsters themselves very convincing, but often exploit the lack of technical knowledge, or vulnerability of the victim.
"We can all help combat scammers by taking a few moments to talk to friends, neighbours and relatives, especially those that may be vulnerable, about the whole problem of scams, whether it is online, by mail, telephone or on their doorstep. Encourage them to not be rushed into making any decisions on the spot, researching any too good to be true offer, and checking up on tradespeople before allowing work to be undertaken at their home.
"There is lots of support and advice available, and we would urge you or someone you know has been a victim of a scam to contact Trading Standards or the Citizens Advice Bureau."
Poole Trading Standards
Telephone 01202 261700