Each year millions of people in the UK fall prey to scammers. Some frontline scam fighters estimate the total cost to consumers of mass-marketed scams could be as much as £5 billion. The truth is – with reporting levels as low as 5 per cent for some types of scams – we don’t really know.
So the figures don’t always help. Talking in hundreds, thousands, millions even billions of pounds undervalues the true cost of scams: the blight they bring to lonely lives, the emotional trauma for families, the widespread loss of confidence among consumers.
Don’t be Rushed Don’t Be Hushed
Scams Awareness Month 2015 is about consumers getting together with the help of their representative organisations including the Citizens Advice service and trading standards services. It’s about consumers refusing to be rushed by scammers, refusing to be hushed into silence by a sense of shame, foolhardiness, or weary acceptance.
It is about creating a community of informed, confident consumers, alert to the dangers, assertive in dealing with that out of the blue contact; that ambush lurking in the detail; consumers decisive about what to do next. And consumers prepared to share what they have learned, look out for others in their communities, the vulnerable, the inexperienced, who – as the statistics tell us – will be targeted repeatedly unless we all speak out about scams.
Scams Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to highlight current scam activity in your area and help consumers tackle them.
What is a scam?
A scam is a scheme to con people out of their money. Other names for a scam include fraud, hoax, con, swindle, cheat.
Sometimes the impact is ruinous: a lifetime of careful planning and saving wiped clean in the space of a telephone conversation, at the stroke of a pen, in the click of a mouse, or from a knock at the door.
What can you do?
We are asking organisations to join us in the campaign and to talk to clients about scams and to ask them to contact us for help if they need it or to report though us. Become scam aware by visiting #scamaware on twitter, visit Citizens advices webpage at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/current_campaigns/scams-awareness-month/scams-awareness-month/ and if you become aware of a scam put it on our interactive scams map at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/current_campaigns/scams-awareness-month/what-is-happening-near-me/