Research by National Trading Standards (NTS) raises worrying concerns about the impact scams could have as we enter the winter months.
They state that 13 million nationally would be pushed into crisis by losing just £100 – that could happen right here in Wrexham to many of us so please stay alert.
They’re also predicting that more people are now vulnerable to an incoming “tidal wave” of scams where criminals target victims on the doorstep, by phone, post or online – all classic ways used to scam people.
As the need to cut household spending increases, our buying behaviour is changing. Many people say they are looking for bargains more than ever before and that will see many tempted by counterfeit products which could be dangerous and of very poor quality.
There’s also a rise in complaints about “green home” improvement scams alongside a rise in doorstep crime.
Roger Mapleson, Trading Standards and Licensing Lead, said, “There’s no doubt that people today are struggling to cope with household bills due to rises in energy prices, interest rates and food costs. As a result, and as we approach Christmas, lots will be tempted by offers that seem too good to be true.
“Our advice is always – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Please be extra careful in the coming months and question anything that could be a scam. Trust relatives and friends rather than online ads or leaflets through your letter box.”
Signs to look out for to avoid scams
Scammers are becoming more sophisticated but you can learn to recognise the signs to avoid becoming a victim.
The following examples are common signs that someone may be trying to scam you:
- Don’t be put on the spot when making any decision about money. Take a moment to stop and think before you give out any information. This simple action could save you hundreds – or even thousands – of pounds. Remember, a genuine organisation will never pressure you into an immediate decision.
- Don’t click on any link sent to you out of the blue, even if it looks legitimate. Go to the official website for the information, or for the correct contact details to get in touch yourself.
- Don’t be tempted by fake goods. They could be dangerous, they’re likely to be very poor quality – meaning you’ll have to replace them quickly anyway – and you will be putting money straight into the hands of criminal gangs. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Never agree to work by anyone who knocks on your door uninvited, rings you out the blue or contacts you online.
If you discover or suspect a scam warn your friends and family. If you have been the victim of a scam please call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133
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