Scams, Rogue Traders and Doorstep Crime

Scam Intervention Work

Introduction

A Priority Area for Devon & Somerset Trading Standards is reducing the detriment suffered by victims of recognised scams.  Tackling the massive issue of mass marketing scams feeds in to the strategic aims of both Devon & Somerset County Councils to safeguard and protect those who are potentially vulnerable, as well the priorities of the National Trading Standards Board and Chartered Trading Standards Institute to use preventative action and consumer education to help reduce scam impact.

Because scam operators often work from abroad, regularly changing their addresses and conducting business under false names, it can be extremely difficult for authorities to tackle them by conventional enforcement.  By far our best weapon against the scammers is to educate, warn and publicise the prevalence of scams, encouraging all residents to remember the motto – If it seems too good to be true, it probably is…

Our Scams Priorities for 16/17

We continue to support  the National Scams Team in their campaign against mass marketing mail scams.   So far this year we have offered help and support to numerous Devon & Somerset residents.   By visiting vulnerable people we have been able to identify some that also suffer from telephone scams and we have used money recovered from Proceeds of Crime actions to purchase callblockers for them to try to stop/reduce this.  We are also working Royal Mail in the fight against scams.

In many of these cases we are asking for information about any direct contact with scammers and supporting people to recognise and avoid scams and report them.   We have recently had a successful prosecution of a carpet cleaning business and we continue to support those that gave the vital evidence necessary to secure that conviction.

In addition we continue to publicise common and emerging scams wherever possible, including on social media and via various events, helping to give residents the confidence to say NO.  We are also working closely with partner organisations who have a responsibility to safeguard residents, supporting carers organisationally and at ground level.

This is where you come in!

Scammers play on our hope, promise us the realisation of our financial dreams, and rely on us not talking to one another about it…

In order to raise awareness of scams and stop lining the pockets of unscrupulous scam operators – we need to start talking about it.  You can learn more about scams by taking our online training, or watching our mass marketing scams video.

Numerous local and national public agency agendas are being aligned with the new duties placed on them by the amendments to the Care Act, which focuses on safeguarding of potentially vulnerable adults and makes protection a priority. But this is something you can help with too.

If you know of someone in your community who is perhaps a little isolated, or you have relatives or friends who are likely to be targeted by or respond to mass marketing scams, take the time to talk to them.  Make sure they are aware of scams and how scam operators work. If you have access and permission, why not display our Scams Poster in a local business or community premises and help spread the word for those who perhaps don’t have ready access to the internet.

If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, you can call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service for free help and practical advice (the details of your complaint will be passed to us), as well as the police on 101.  (If you are concerned someone is at immediate risk of serious harm always call 999)

You can find loads of resources online to help you, including the scams section of this site where you can find details of all the most common scams we receive complaints about.

In addition, the following websites are really useful:

Think Jessica (this site includes a video detailing the experience of a mass marketing scam victim)
Action Fraud
Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Crimestoppers