Council to raise awareness of scams to help vulnerable avoid falling victim

The Northern Echo: Be wise to scams to avoid ending up out of pocket Be wise to scams to avoid ending up out of pocket

CON tricks that people should watch out for are being highlighted to avoid becoming a scam victim.

Durham County Council wants to raise awareness of the issue during Scams Awareness Month throughout May.

Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Scams often target the most vulnerable people and come in a variety of ways – including through the post, over the phone, on the doorstep and via the internet.

“They are all aimed at persuading people to hand over money or their personal details, which can then be used to commit fraud.

“These scams can bring heartbreaking consequences, particularly for elderly and vulnerable victims, so we want to ensure people are aware of them and can spot the warning signs.”

Online rip-offs include check and send websites that look official but charge high fees for services that are often free, like European Health Insurance Cards.

Mailshot scams include fake prize draws, promises of home working and miracle products and investment offers.

Common telephone cons include a caller claiming to be from the Microsoft or Apple technical support team and asking for personal details which can lead to the recipient paying for bogus software, enable fraudsters to access computer data and leave a computer affected by harmful viruses or spyware.

Anyone who suspects they have been the targeted by a scam should report it to Action Fraud on 0300-1232040.

For more information or advice visit the websites actionfraud.police.uk or contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online at adviceguide.org.uk or on 08454-040506.

Comments (2)

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3:21pm Thu 8 May 14

DarloXman says...

I've been the victim of a scam committed by Darlington Borough council once a month for many years! Money has been taken from my bank account for very little in return!

Please help me!
I've been the victim of a scam committed by Darlington Borough council once a month for many years! Money has been taken from my bank account for very little in return! Please help me! DarloXman
  • Score: 5

7:17am Fri 9 May 14

Ally F says...

There is a on-line tax disc renewal scam circulating, which looks almost identical to the DVLA official web site but charges you a £40 surcharge simply for a 3rd party to process your application on the DVLA official web-site. All they do is use a mirror web site to capture the information they need from you to renew it (a process you can do for nothing in under under 2 minutes) and then charge you £40. Official Government web sites always end in .gov.uk.

I used to think people needed to be a bit simple and thick to get scammed in such ways, but some of the mirror web sites look just like the real thing, and technically they are not illegal, just highly immoral.

Another scam, which my parents asked me to check whether it was true or not, is energy saving telesales callers stating that "by law, all homes must have their loft insulation improved by 2016" That is not true, there is no such legislation whatsoever, and if there ever was, homeowners would be notified directly by the Government not by a 3rd party telesales company.

Such selling tactics specifically target the elderly, who might not be up to speed on such things. Homeowners and those in receipts of benefits might qualify for grants towards energy savings improvements, including loft insulation, etc., but there is absolutely no legal obligation for a homeowner to act. (It might have been Swansea Nev and his call centre workers, who knows?) Under pressure to hit targets tele-sales staff will spout out all kinds of false-hoods and half truths.
There is a on-line tax disc renewal scam circulating, which looks almost identical to the DVLA official web site but charges you a £40 surcharge simply for a 3rd party to process your application on the DVLA official web-site. All they do is use a mirror web site to capture the information they need from you to renew it (a process you can do for nothing in under under 2 minutes) and then charge you £40. Official Government web sites always end in .gov.uk. I used to think people needed to be a bit simple and thick to get scammed in such ways, but some of the mirror web sites look just like the real thing, and technically they are not illegal, just highly immoral. Another scam, which my parents asked me to check whether it was true or not, is energy saving telesales callers stating that "by law, all homes must have their loft insulation improved by 2016" That is not true, there is no such legislation whatsoever, and if there ever was, homeowners would be notified directly by the Government not by a 3rd party telesales company. Such selling tactics specifically target the elderly, who might not be up to speed on such things. Homeowners and those in receipts of benefits might qualify for grants towards energy savings improvements, including loft insulation, etc., but there is absolutely no legal obligation for a homeowner to act. (It might have been Swansea Nev and his call centre workers, who knows?) Under pressure to hit targets tele-sales staff will spout out all kinds of false-hoods and half truths. Ally F
  • Score: 1

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