Residents in Nottingham are being urged to spot and avoid financial scams as part of a national week of action.
The warning has come from Nottingham City Council’s Trading Standards team and is part of this year’s Citizens Advice Scams Awareness campaign, which runs from 3 to 9 July.
A recent example in Nottingham was a victim who lost £500 in a cryptocurrency scam, having received a message on Instagram from a close relative’s account asking that they pay money into a digital wallet.
After the victim was told they would have to pay even more money to release funds, they reported the fraud to their bank and Action Fraud. They discovered the relative’s account had been hacked by a fraudster and was being used to message friends and family under the guise of someone they could trust.
Advice to people to make sure they don’t become a scam victim includes:
- Criminals often approach potential victims by pretending to be a trusted person or company – millions of people around the world are targeted by scam messages or phone calls like this every year;
- If something seems suspicious or unexpected, such as requests for money or information, contact the organisation directly to check. Use contact details from their official website, not those given in the message;
- If a friend or family member makes an unusual request, call or speak to them in person to make sure it’s really them;
- Criminals may send texts asking for a link to be clicked in order to steal a victim’s money or personal information, or even try with a phone call. Reporting scam texts and calls helps phone providers find out where the calls or texts came from and can help get senders blocked or banned.
The best way to report scam texts or calls is free of charge to 7726. Texts can be forwarded to this number with the sender’s details when prompted, while for a scam phone call the word ‘call’ should be added.
Anyone who receives a suspicious email should forward it to email@example.com to help stop criminal activity and prevent others falling victim to scams.
If personal information has been provided or money stolen, it’s simple – and important – to report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
It will be passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate and, crucially, helps to prevent other people falling victim. It should also be reported to the bank as soon as possible.
Councillor Sajid Mohammed, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion at Nottingham City Council, said: “We remain in a national cost-of-living crisis, which is affecting so many people in our city and we don’t want that situation made even worse by them falling victim to a scam.
“The sad truth is that there are some despicable people out there who will deliberately use periods of uncertainty like this to con others out of their money and possessions.
“Our officers support many residents every year with the aim of stopping them becoming victims in the first place. What makes this such a distressing crime is that the elderly and vulnerable are deliberately targeted because scammers know they have a greater chance of success.
“We hear stories about victims in Nottingham who have been tricked out of very substantial sums of money – sometimes life savings. It is a constant battle, but we will continue to stand up for and protect people in any way we can.”
The Council’s Trading Standards team will be on Mansfield Road, in Sherwood, from 2pm to 4pm on Thursday 6 July to offer further advice on scams. People can also contact trained advisors through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service by calling 0808 223 1133, or clicking here.