SIX OUT of every ten people in the south west have been approached by a scammer in the last two years says BCP Citizens Advice Bureau.

Worryingly, says the Bureau, only half of those who suffered spoke to anyone about it.

BCP Bureau chief, Zoe Bradley, said: “We are finding that although many people have come into contact with scammers, very few people are speaking up about this issue. People can sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed reporting their experiences, but sadly this means perpetrators are getting away Scot-free.”

Now the Bureau has launched a Be #Scamaware campaign to alert everyone to the dangers of falling victim and to speak up when they have become the victim of a scam.

“More than half of all scams reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service in the last year used well-established, offline methods,” said Zoe. “These classic tactics from the scammers’ playbook include unsolicited doorstep selling, mail and cold calling, and saw people lose an average of almost £3,000.”

To help stop more people being fleeced, Citizens Advice BCP and Trading Standards are sharing the following tips on how to spot scams.

Is someone you know receiving more mail than usual or receiving unsolicited calls or spending more time on the phone? Or perhaps they have withdrawn large amounts of cash recently or are struggling with money?

If you think someone is being scammed, says the Bureau, you should take the following steps:

  • If you’re worried about telephone scams look into installing a call blocker.
  • Encourage them to tell their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards.
  • Report the scam to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or by phone on 03454 04 05. They will give you advice on what to do next and report the scam to Trading Standards
  • Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
  • If they’re struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts encourage them to visit their local Citizens Advice.
  • People are also advised to be aware if they are unexpectedly contacted by someone out of the blue, even if it’s a name they recognise.