ARGYLL and Bute residents are being urged to help stop scammers preying on unsuspecting people.
The Council’s Trading Standards team is backing National Scams Awareness Month.
Its message is: Play your part, act on scams.
The team is calling on local residents to be more aware of how they could be scammed, and to report it if they get caught out.
Potential scams include rogue traders charging for unwanted and badly done work; fake and potentially life-threatening products sold online; non-existent lottery wins that demand fees up front; and investment opportunities based on thin air that can rob people of their life savings.
Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services, Councillor David Kinniburgh, said: “Knowing how to spot a scam is the best line of defence against being scammed.
“While scammers will always use tactics such as cut-price deals and pressure selling to draw people in, there are more ways for scammers to reach people with different bogus offers – from texts and emails to social media and online adverts.
“People are also reluctant to talk about scams so we hope to bring the issue more out into the open.
“With so many vulnerable people being snagged by scammers there is no reason to be embarrassed – and every reason to report incidents and help the authorities put a stop to it.”
National Scams Awareness Month is organised by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).
It says research has shown 45 to 60-year-olds are most impacted, and by a wide range of scams, often losing large amounts of money. There is also a rise in the number of 18 to 24-year-olds being scammed – and this is the group least likely to report it.
CTSI Chief Executive Leon Livermore said: “Too many people are suffering from being scammed in silence and criminals getting away with their money – in some cases to the point where the victim needs to sell their home to pay them off.
“This campaign to raise awareness is vital – and we want people to not only report on being scammed but to look out for each other.”
You can get more information on how to avoid being scammed or to report one at the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.