Scammers target old and young for cash

Fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC have been calling people to scam them.
Fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC have been calling people to scam them.

Eight hundred scams have been reported to Lancashire Trading Standards over the last 12 months.

The shocking figures come as it was revealed by the Local Government Association that scams cost UK citizens nearly £10 billion a year.

Scams can be conducted by telephone, email, on dating websites, through letters, or by door-to-door salesman

Trading Standards manager Tony Haslam told the Lancaster Guardian that often time s scams or frauds are often not reported to them and scams as a whole remain under-reported.

Tony said: “It changes from time to time. Most recently a man aged 84 was called by someone claiming to be from HMRC

“The caller said there was an arrest warrant out for him for unpaid taxes, Of course, this was a way for the scammers to gain the man’s personal details.

“More and more phone calls are unsolicited, claiming to be from official organisations. It’s a way of asking for information, address, National Insurance number etc. “

Another recent scam reported widely is the Microsoft computer scam, Tony said.

It’s designed so the caller can gain access to your computer to ‘sort a virus out’ but in actual fact the scammers can harvest your information, including bank details, passwords and so on, but also plant malware which may infect your computer with viruses.Tony said: “Just remember that they have contacted you by phoneyou wouldn’t deal with an issue like this by telephone, , it will be by letter.

“This gives you time to consider it, get advice from relatives, friends or Trading Standards, and get them to put it all in writing, which if it was a genuine call, they would be able to do.

“Don’t be rushed, nothing is a life or death thing. We can all be caught out.

“It’s a nasty world out there but only if you let your guard down.”

Lancashire Trading Standards have their own Facebook page Scambuster Stan, which features as many of the current scams as possible

Visit Facebook and search under Scambuster Stan, like the page and then posts will come up on your news feeds advising of the latest scams.

Action Fraud has also warned homeowners and housing organisations about bogus traders using the Grenfell Tower fire to pose as council officials or professionals in the fire prevention industry.

Call Trading Standards on 01772 533569 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

to defraud them for services or goods that don’t exist or aren’t necessary, such as a free or subsidised safety inspection of a property.