A CHARITY which operates in Andover is backing a campaign to warn residents of the dangers of scams after a marked increase in cases across the UK.

Citizens Advice Test Valley is pushing out the message after estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) suggested there were 5.1 million fraud offences in the year ending September 2021.

Additionally, Citizens Advice found in the first five months of 2021 more than two thirds of adults (36 million) had been targeted by a scam.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: "We’ve seen time and again that scammers seek to exploit vulnerability - from the coronavirus pandemic to recessions, times of difficulty often see a corresponding increase in related scams. From what we’ve seen so far, the cost-of-living crisis seems to be no different.

"The increased financial pressures many are facing has put more people into difficult situations, facing issues such as debt or not being able to afford essential goods and services. Scammers are likely to exploit these, so empowering the public to protect themselves and others from scams will have heightened importance."

SEE ALSO: Andover couple scammed while selling via Facebook Marketplace

There are lots of different types of scams emerging, the group says. Some examples to look out for include:

  • Scammers pretending to be energy companies, luring people with “too good to be true” deals in order to steal their money
  • Fake sales representatives selling counterfeit shopping vouchers
  • Fraudsters sending out phishing emails pretending to offer an energy rebate or government support to obtain people’s personal information

With the cost-of-living crisis unfolding, consumers need to remain alert and protect themselves from these and other scams.

Through the campaign, Citizens Advice wants to achieve the following:

  • Equip consumers with the knowledge and skills they need to recognise scams Scams come in many forms and are increasingly complex and sophisticated.
  • Give people the knowledge they need to recognise scams, so they can protect themselves and those around them
  • Empower people to take action by getting advice and reporting scams
  • Encourage people to talk about their experiences and help others

If someone thinks they’ve been scammed, there are steps they can take to protect themselves from things getting worse. If they take action immediately, they might even be able to recover some of the money they lost. It can also give people a feeling of control.

However, it’s not always clear what to do and who to report to. Many victims falling for a scam are overwhelmed by a sense of shame, which can lead to under-reporting.

The charity wants to encourage people to talk openly about their experiences, emphasising the responsibility to inform and help others. T

What to do if you have been scammed

  • Tell your bank straight away.
  • Change any passwords you have.
  • Report the scam to Citizens Advice straight away. If you live in England call: 0808 223 1133
  • You can also report the scam to Action Fraud. Phone: 03001232040

For more information, visit: citizensadvice.org.uk/ ScamsAdvice.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support.

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.