Croydon residents aged 40-60 are being urged to guard against potential financial fraudsters as a national campaign gets underway.
To mark Scams Awareness Month, Croydon Council’s trading standards team is particularly warning residents aged 40-60 that they are most likely to be targeted by con artists peddling fake schemes, from pension fraud to property scams and phishing. People in this age group account for the highest percentage of fraud victims (more than one in three) as they are both most likely to report being affected by scams and tend to have access to financial assets.
Trading standards officers will be at Santander at 138 Brighton Road, Coulsdon, on Thursday (7 June) from 10am until 12 noon, providing advice and information about avoiding scams.
A total of 1,200 financial and legal scams were reported to the Citizens’ Advice consumer service in the year ending April 2018 – a 6% increase on the year before. Investment scams included:
• Fake websites claiming to offer investments in cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. Often, scammers will pretend that household names have endorsed the company to make it seem genuine.
• Holiday timeshares – scammers promising to buy your membership off you for an advanced fee.
• Fake stockbrokers promising big returns if phoney shares rise or fall within a certain timeframe. Check if they are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and are not on the FCA’s list of firms to avoid.
• Bogus solicitors intercepting emails from a legitimate solicitor and posing as them to get cash from victims, including housebuyers paying a deposit. Always check if your solicitor is on the Solicitors Regulation Authority to see if they are genuine.
“Scammers rely on people not questioning that they are genuine, so always be suspicious if you are contacted unexpectedly, are asked to give money or bank account details, feel pressured into saying yes to something or just feel what you’re being offered is too good to be true.
“I urge all Croydon residents, including those at particular risk of financial fraud, to get more information on how to avoid becoming scam victims by talking to our trading standards officers at Thursday’s drop-in session in Coulsdon or by visiting the Citizens’ Advice website.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities
You can report fraud in London direct to Action Fraud (www.actionfraud.org.uk or via 0300 123 2040), by calling 999 or, in a non-emergency, 101. If you have any information on any crime and you would prefer not to speak to police, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org