Lancaster has been revealed as one of the top scam hotspots in England and Wales.
Analysis of 5,000 scams reported to the national Citizens Advice consumer service between January and March show Lancaster has the second highest number of reported scam incidents in the country, with fake services being the number one scam.
Citizens Advice North Lancashire warned that if it sounds good to be true, it probably is.
There were 14 cases of fake services reported to Citizens Advice North Lancashire during that period.
This is where fraudsters charge people for a service that isn’t real or doesn’t exist.
The organisation also recorded 13 cases of upfront payment fees, where victims pay for a product or service which they never receive, and four cases of doorstep/street selling, where ictims are offered goods by door-to-door sellers which may be counterfeit or stolen.
The average loss for victims in Lancaster was £284 per victim compared to a national average loss of £2,500.
Citizens Advice North Lancashire has been informing residents how to spot a scam and what to do if they’ve been targeted.
People are being urged to follow a three-step rule - get advice, report it, and tell others about it.
Austin Staunton, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice North Lancashire, said:
“Getting scammed can cost you dearly.
“Fraudsters have plenty of tricks up their sleeves so Lancaster residents can’t be too vigilant.
“Scams Awareness Month aims to give people the confidence to spot scams more easily and speak up to stop others being caught out.
“Any residents who would like a second opinion about an offer they’ve received should contact Citizens Advice North Lancashire or the consumer service.
“If anyone suspects they’ve been a victim of a scam, they should go straight to Action Fraud.”
Citizens Advice North Lancashire’s top five tips for spotting scams include:
1. Don’t be rushed into making an immediate decision.
2. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
3. Contacted out of the blue – be suspicious.
4. Your bank will never phone you to ask for your PIN or your online banking password.
5. Genuine computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.
Anyone worried about a scam can contact Citizens Advice North Lancashire, call the consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or visit citizensadvice.org.uk.