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Don’t be rushed, Don’t be hushed!

Poole residents are being urged to speak up about phone scams to help stop others from falling victim to fraudsters looking to steal their savings.

Trading Standards and the Citizens Advice Bureau are encouraging residents receiving suspicious telephone calls to come forward and report them as part of National Scams Awareness Month which runs throughout July. The month is themed around the message “Don’t be rushed, Don’t be hushed”.

Don't be rushed, don't be hushed logo

James Norman, Regulatory Team Manager, Borough of Poole, said: “Scams are constantly evolving and adapting to technology and it can be difficult to keep up. We have seen a big hike in the figures for telephone based scams recently with Dorset Police putting losses to residents at over £2 million due to ‘vishing’ scams in the last year alone. However, nationally the situation is far worse with losses as a result of these scams tripling to £24 million in 2014. We would encourage residents to be vigilant and report any unusual telephone calls.”

‘Vishing’ involves scammers cold calling their target and obtaining personal information such as bank or building society details which they are then able to use to withdraw funds or buy goods.

An example of this type of scam that has effected Dorset residents involves the caller telling the victim they need to transfer money from their accounts to theirs or hand it to a courier to keep it safe as it has been the subject of fraud. Callers, pretending to be the police or the bank, encourage the victim to call them back to confirm it is genuine but keep the line open and simply pass the caller on to an accomplice.

Poole Trading Standards advise residents to never give out personal information or bank details in response to an incoming call or withdraw cash to be collected by a courier.

Cllr John Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Consumer Protection, Borough of Poole, said: “Telephone scams are operated by professional criminals and people should be particularly suspicious of anyone asking them to call them back at the number on the back of your bank card - the call does not disconnect on a landline and you will be speaking to same person despite thinking you have dialled a new number.

"While we could all be at risk of being approached by scammers, recent work by the Financial Ombudsman Service found more than 80 per cent of known ‘vishing’ victims were aged over 55. Please spread the word and in particular, inform any older neighbours and relatives about these scams and urge them not to be rushed into making any decisions until they speak to someone they trust about it first."

If you think you or someone you know has been scammed, contact Citizens Advice Bureau on 03454 040506 for help or report it to Poole Trading Standards on 01202 261700.

Here are Poole Trading Standards top tips for avoiding scams:

  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • It you haven’t bought a ticket – you can’t win it 
  • You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize
  • If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up
  • Contacted out of the blue? – Be suspicious
  • Don’t be rushed – resist pressure to make a decision straight away
  • Never send money to someone you have never met
  • Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance
  • Your bank will never phone you to ask for your PIN or your online banking password
  • Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams

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