Trading Standards officers are stepping up the fight against fraudsters after uncovering new scams across East Sussex.
The new cons came to light during Scams Awareness 2019 when officers spoke to residents at events across the county.
Details of the latest methods of tricking residents out of their hard-earned cash will be shared by the Trading Standards officers as they raise awareness among those vulnerable to scams.
Cllr Bill Bentley, lead member for communities and safety at East Sussex County Council, said: “As people get wise to scams, the fraudsters find new ways to try and trick residents into handing over their money.
“Scammers are heartless criminals who often target the most vulnerable in our community. They don’t care about the financial hardship or distress they cause, their only concern is how much money they can get.”
He added: “The new information uncovered by our Trading Standards Team will help us ensure residents are wise to as many scams as possible and can avoid becoming a victim.”
New scams reported include:
• A phone call from someone claiming to be from the Inland Revenue saying money was owed and, if it wasn’t paid, the person would be prosecuted
• A phone call informing the resident that their bank account had been compromised and that they needed to move their money to a safe account
• Door step sellers claiming to be recently out of prison and trying to make some money by selling overpriced, poor quality household items
Despite only 13 per cent of fraud incidents being reported, 147 residents in East Sussex were reported to Trading Standards as victims of scams between April 2018 and April 2019, losing more than £1.3 million between them.
As well as hosting awareness events, Trading Standards officers visit vulnerable residents to warn them about scams and advise them on how to prevent themselves becoming a victim, install call blockers on phones and hand out ‘no cold calling’ stickers for windows and front doors.
During Scams Awareness 2019, which ran from June 10 to June 23, officers spoke and gave advice to 80 people. Events held in libraries over the fortnight gave residents the chance to find out about different types of scams, and speak to Trading Standards officers and a community banker from Natwest.
Information about scams or suspected scams can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk
Residents can get advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.