Citizens Advice Exeter warns residents about scams in the city
Published: 17 March 2023
Citizens Advice Exeter (CAE) is focussing on scams and scam awareness as one of its key campaigns and concerns over the last year.
Volunteers and staff have met with Exeter residents both at the Citizens Advice offices and elsewhere, exploring the extent of scams and how scam-aware residents are.
The results of surveys carried out by CAE showed 100 per cent of people surveyed had been targeted by scammers in some form, and more than 50 per cent did not know how to report the scam or receive scam alerts.
On the positive side, many people surveyed had not fallen prey to the scam but had been vigilant and suspicious enough not to divulge any personal details.
The trends in scams for Exeter residents is similar to the national picture - crypto currency, HMRC, identity, investment, romance, ticketing and payment in advance are among the multitude of frauds taking place regularly.
Fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated and it can be very difficult to detect when a situation is not genuine. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) say that people are more likely to fall victim to fraud or cyber offences than any other crime.
The full report of the scams encountered by CAE is available on their website: www.citizensadviceexeter.org.uk. It is intended to alert the public to the range and extent of scams, in order to try to reduce the level of financial and emotional distress suffered by victims.
There are no particular demographics that are uniquely susceptible to scams as they are targeted at different audiences, and they are incredibly sophisticated.
One young Exeter couple were called by fraudsters pretending to be their bank. The caller convinced the victims that their funds were under threat and needed to be moved. As a result, the caller stole over £20,000 of the victims’ money, leaving them traumatised and financially vulnerable.
An elderly Exeter resident received a call from a Trading Standards officer, asking for bank details. The caller said there was some money due to the Exeter resident as compensation for a fraud that had been committed some years previously. In this case, the victim, with help from their carer, did not fall for this scam.
Anyone targeted with any kind of scam can report it to Action Fraud - www.actionfraud.police.uk
Action Fraud recommend:
- Do not give personal information to people or organisations without verifying their credentials
- Ensure your computer anti-virus software is up to date
- Financial institutions will never send you an email asking you to click on a link to confirm your account details. You can verify an institution using the phone number taken from a genuine piece of correspondence or from the website (typed directly into the address bar).
- Use second layer verification where possible
- Request a copy of your credit file on a regular basis from a recognised company e.g. Experian
- Destroy documents that show your financial or personal details e.g. by shredding
- Identity theft; if you receive requests for money or receipts for items you have not bought, take action
- Be alert to unsolicited phone calls, emails or online ads that offer deals that are too good to be true
- If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of callers claiming to help you recover your money