With many families facing extra financial pressures due to increasing household costs, people are being warned to be aware of the risks of scams.

Each year, millions of people in the UK fall prey to scammers, although it is thought that less than five per cent report them. An estimated £10 billion is lost to scammers each year.

Scammers will often look to exploit a crisis, as they did during the Covid-19 pandemic, and now Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service is asking people to remain vigilant.

Officers expect to see an increase in the number of scams relating to offers of help towards energy bills, council tax refund scams, pension pot scams, green homes grants  and home insulation scams. People should always be aware of any unsolicited or out of the blue approaches whether via text messages, emails, phone calls, the post or even on the doorstep.

Some common scams to look out for include:

Text, email and online scams, offering financial support with energy costs.

Cloned keys to top up energy credit illegally

Companies offering to claim council tax rebates on your behalf.

People being offered a cut price deal on their doorstep

bogus charity collections.

Other popular scams include online investment offers, bogus bank and HMRC phone calls and texts, online job adverts asking for an upfront fee and fake prize draw winnings.

The reminder comes as part of Scams Awareness Fortnight delivered by Citizens Advice which runs from 13 to 26 June.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “Scams Awareness Fortnight is always a busy time for our Trading Standards service as they try and make people aware of the dangers of scams. With many households facing increasing household bills and additional financial pressures, we are expecting to see an increase in scams, so it’s vital we do everything we can to stop people from being conned. These criminals are clever and can appear very convincing. They will often claim to be from Government agencies, companies, banks and charities, offering help, refunds  or access to financial support.

“But there are some things we can do to help keep ourselves safe. For example, if you receive a suspicious email or text, don’t click on links or attachments.  Never respond to unsolicited messages that ask for your personal or financial details. People should also be wary of unsolicited phone calls or knocks on their door asking for personal information.”

People can find out more about avoiding scams and how to report them at www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/work-areas/scams-team/ or by calling the Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133

(MAIN IMAGE Tony Shore, Trading Standards Manager at Staffordshire County Council)

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