Birmingham residents are being urged to get wise to the tricks con artists and rogue traders use, by attending a series of free roadshows across the city in July.
During Scam Awareness Month, Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards officers are inviting people to come to these events, which aim to equip people with the skills to stop scams and scammers in their tracks.
- 18 July 2016: Tesco/Spring Hill Library, Spring Hill, Camden Street, Hockley
- 21 July 2016: Sainsbury’s, Frankley Beeches Road, Northfield
- 26 July 2016: Sainsbury’s, 30 Mere Green Road, Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield
- 27 July 2016: Shard End Community Centre, 170 Packington Avenue, Shard End.
**All sessions will take place between 10am and 2pm**
Last year Birmingham Trading Standards received 4,776 complaints from consumers, 624 (13%) of these related to consumer fraud, which includes doorstep selling, misdescribed goods/services, and scam calls and correspondence.
The roadshows will highlight the tell-tale signs of fraud, from being made an offer that’s too good to be true, to being rushed into signing on the dotted line.
People may also be targeted through cold calls, high-pressure sales tactics or automated messages requesting their bank details – to get their hands on hard earned money.
Trading Standards officers will also advise people how to speak up about a scam, which is key to getting them closed down, and how to go about reporting suspected fraud to the authorities.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Scams come in a variety of guises and we see new ones emerging all the time. However, there are common hallmarks to every scam and we’re keen to show people across Birmingham what to look out for so they don’t fall prey to a fraudster.
“These roadshows, which are taking place during Scam Awareness Month, will provide people with the opportunity to get advice that could help protect them from unscrupulous traders and con artists.
“Reporting suspicious offers and incidents of fraud is vital to getting scams closed down. If you think you’ve been contacted by a con artist or have been the victim of scam, seek advice and report it.”
Scam Awareness Month, which was launched on 1 July, aims to educate people on how not to fall for scams, by following a three-step rule: get advice, report it and tell others about it.
Fraud victims pay a heavy price, losing billions of pounds every year. Scams targeting people by phone or post alone cost people in the UK an estimated UK £5 billion each year(1).
Informing the authorities and warning others is the only sure fire way of stopping scams, but people can be hesitant to even tell their friends and family.
Notes to editors:
1 National Trading Standards Scams Team, 2015/16 estimate
What to do if you have been scammed: Get advice and report it to Trading Standards through your local Citizens Advice bureau or contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 04 05 06 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/