Hartlepool’s Trading Standards and Citizens Advice teams have joined forces to alert residents to the dangers of fraudsters during national Scam Awareness Month.
The campaign runs throughout July when officials will offer advice on how not to fall victim to the scammers who cost UK consumers an estimated £5 billion a year.
Scams are not a minor inconvenience: they cause distress and misery, they ruin lives in some casesJoe Michna, Citizens Advice Hartlepool
A series of roadshows will take place in Hartlepool as part of the campaign focussing on telephone, online, mail and doorstep scams.
Joe Michna, manager of Citizens Advice Hartlepool, in Park Road, said: “Scams are not a minor inconvenience: they cause distress and misery, they ruin lives in some cases and, even where the losses are comparatively low, they lead to a widespread loss of consumer confidence.
“We are therefore very enthusiastic about taking part in this campaign and our aim is to increase consumer awareness so that people do not find themselves being conned or tricked out of their money.”
Con artists are constantly coming up with new ways to try to trick victims out of money or personal information such as fake lotteries and prize draws, pensions and investment schemes.
Ian Harrison, trading standards and licensing manager at Hartlepool council, said: “This is an ever increasing problem and it is important that the general public remain vigilant.”
The roadshow will visit Natwest Bank, York Road, on Friday, July 8, at 9.30am-12.30pm; Middleton Grange shopping centre, Wednesday, July 13, and Friday, July 22, from 9am-4pm; Barclays Bank, York Road, Friday, July 15, at 9.30am-12pm; and Citizens Advice, Park Road, Friday, July 29, 12.30pm-3pm.