RESIDENTS are being warned to be on their guard against scammers as part of a fresh crackdown.
Officials at Hartlepool Citizens Advice Bureau, in Park Road, are calling on town residents to be on the lookout for any website, letter, doorstep seller or phonecall with a proposal that sounds too good to be true – because it might very well be a scam.
Scams come in different shapes and sizes, with tricksters using dating websites to build relationships with people they later defraud.
CAB bosses say other common types include ‘phishing’ emails and ‘vishing’ phone calls - designed to con people into giving away sensitive information, investment scams, and advanced fees requested to claim unexpected lottery wins.
With fewer than five per cent of people in the UK reporting scams to the authorities, Hartlepool CAB say it is time to “fight back against scammers”.
The push is part of the national campaign Scams Awareness Month, which launches today, Thursday May 1. Over the course of the month the campaign will highlight how people can be caught out through scams and the focus is on online scams, postal cheats, phone cons and doorstep rip-offs.
Joe Michna, CAB bureau manager, said: “Scammers can’t continue to get away with fleecing people of their hard-earned money - we want to see a fight back against scams.
“It is a disgrace that scammers often target elderly people with sophisticated scams such as posing as their bank or phone company.
“People regularly come to us with heart-breaking stories about con artists taking their money and it’s important that people know what to look out for and what they can do.
“Anyone who is unsure about someone asking for their financial details should check with someone they trust and report anything that sounds dodgy to their local Citizens Advice Bureau.”
Hartlepool CAB are being supported by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Trading Standards Team.
For more information visit Citizensadvice.org.uk/sam14.
Officials say scams to watch out for include online shopping and auction scams where internet shoppers get lured into buying phantom cars, mobile phones and pets, investment fraud and dating scams and software scams.