WELCOME to Citizens Advice Scam Awareness fortnight, This annual campaign is all about creating a network of confident, #ScamAware consumers who are able to recognise a scam, report it to the appropriate agency and talk about their experiences to help raise public awareness of scams. Citizens Advice runs the Scams Awareness campaign in close collaboration with the Consumer Protection Partnership. This brings together key partners in the consumer landscape to identify, prioritise and coordinate collective action to tackle detriment. Partners include Trading Standards service and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The coronavirus pandemic has made it even more important to empower the public to protect themselves against scams. Last year, we saw an increase in scams relating to coronavirus as fraudsters tried to take advantage of all the uncertainty of the pandemic. As the country moves towards economic recovery, scams continue to be a prevalent issue, with scammers seeking to exploit the fall out of the pandemic. Through the Scams Awareness campaign we hope to: equip consumers with the knowledge and skills they need to recognise scams, empower people to take action by getting advice and reporting scams, and encourage people to talk about their experiences and help others. More hints an suggestions in the next couple of weeks
First, however, I wonder whether you have been contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity. Certainly, with interest rates paid by banks and building societies having taken a dive, many of us are wondering how to increase our investments incomes. I read a report last week from “Cyber Safe” that victims of investment frauds have lost over £63 million to investment fraud scams on social media. So here are some hints to protect yourself from investment fraud.
Always be suspicious if you are contacted by a stranger about an “investment opportunity”. This could be made via a cold call, an e-mail, or an approach on social media by someone you don’t know. Do not be rushed into a decision, take your time and refuse to be pressurised. Talk to family members and/or trusted close friends. You should consider seeking independent professional advice before making any significant financial decision. Even genuine investment schemes can involve high risks! Always check the FCA register to make sure you are dealing with an authorised firm, and check their Warning List of firms to avoid. Only use a telephone number or email address confirmed on the FCA register, not the contact details you have been given by the firm that has approached you.
Finally, a glossy website with “high net worth” investors giving glowing reviews does not mean it’s genuine. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Sefton Citizens Advice debt advice service drop-in face-to –face sessions are now, offering advice by video-call. The service will be available on Mondays from 10am-noon. For information you should check out our “How We Can Help” page on our website www.seftoncab.org.uk.
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available: Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri. For general advice. 0808 278 7841 (freephone) Mon – Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm and text relay for people with hearing impairment: Text relay: 03444 111 445 for people with hearing impairment.
The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30am-4.30pm, Mon to Fri. Our local website address is www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/
Citizens Advice Lancashire West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line 0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk