Scams are highlighted

Bogus callers are operating in Doncaster
Bogus callers are operating in Doncaster

The tricks used by scammers are being highlighted as part of a national campaign to reduce fraud.

Residents are being urged to speak out and take action against scams during a national awareness month backed by Derbyshire County Council.

July is Scams Awareness Month (SAM16) and different scams will be highlighted each week.

Citizens Advice is running SAM16 in conjunction with the Trading Standards Institute with the aim of encouraging consumers to seek support from trading standards teams to help them deal with unwanted calls, mail or visits and find out what action they can take themselves.

Last year there were 369 reported victims of scams in Derbyshire and the county council’s trading standards team estimate residents lost more than £720,000 – with around half of the victims reporting that their health had suffered as a result.

Older people were the main target of scams nationally and locally with victims of the most common doorstep cons averaging 74 years old and losing £2,000 each.

More protection against scams is available after the county council’s trading standard’s team joined forces with Age UK Derby and Derbyshire and Citizens Advice last year to set up Scam Watch – a consumer protection scheme which offers victims one-to-one support and advice as well as raising awareness about scams.

Only five to ten per cent of victims are believed to report scams because they feel too frightened or embarrassed to tell anyone – so the full financial cost is not known.

Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “Scams damage people’s lives in so many ways and have a real effect on their health. Not only can victims end up losing thousands of pounds but many feel anxious and stressed in their own homes after being harassed on a daily basis.

“Older people are more vulnerable to becoming victims and can be targeted by scammers – but often they suffer in silence.

“Scams Awareness Month is about helping people realise they’re not alone and that help is available. We want to encourage them to speak out and give them and their families or carers the information they need to have the confidence to take action.”

Although SAM16 is running in July the council’s trading standards team is urging people to report scams all year round and for carers, families and friends to be vigilant.

For more see www.derbyshire.gov.uk/scams