We are all vulnerable to scams. People young and old experience scams and anyone can be tricked by them. We can all benefit by learning more about scams.
Trading Standards works with scam victims in Dudley Borough, to raise awareness, improve reporting of scams and stop financial abuse.
What is a scam?
It is important to remember a scam is fraud and fraud is a crime. Scams can trick you into handing over money or personal details.
As well as leaving people out of pocket, victims are often left feeling a sense of shame and social isolation. But, don't feel embarrassed. Remember, it can happen to anyone.
To get victims hooked and responding to scams, criminals rely on:
- social isolation
- vulnerable circumstances
- that victims may not always admit or even be aware that they are the victim of a crime
Criminals will often attempt to rush victims into making decisions and encourage them to keep their contact secret from family and friends.
Download more information on scams.
Types of Scams
Scams can take many forms:
- Lottery or Prize Draw Scams - claim that you have won large sums of money on fictitious lottery or prize draws. They may provide 'unique' reference numbers that will in-fact be given to many others
- Catalogue Scams - sell worthless or misleading products, such as home/garden products, 'miracle cures', vitamins, etc. Also claim that you have won money on non-existent prize draws but a purchase must be made in order to claim the winnings
- Clairvoyant Scams - offer predictions of the future and request payment for further information
- Inheritance Scams - an overseas lawyer or official contacts you stating that money from the will of a recently deceased individual is due to you
- Vishing - a telephone call to attempt to steal personal information
- SMShing - mobile phone SMS text messages to trick you into divulging personal information
- Investment or 'Boiler Room' Scam - a telephone call offers worthless, overpriced or non-existent shares
- Pension Scam – a telephone call tries to lure you to cash in your pension with promises of upfront cash, guaranteed returns and one-off deals
- Computer Scam - a telephone call states that there is a problem with your computer or laptop and offers to help fix the issue, gaining access to your computer and personal information
- Phishing - an fake email from a bank designed to trick you into revealing personal information and passwords
- Pharming - the fraudulent practice of directing online users to a fake website, which mimics the appearance of a real/legitimate one
- Romance Scam - a criminal displays fake romantic intentions towards a victim in order to gain their affection and trust to extort money
- Impersonation of UK officials - criminals impersonate a UK official to get personal information and steal money, often claiming that the victim is due a refund or must make an urgent payment. Examples: HMRC Tax Rebate Scam or the Council Tax Scam
- Investment and 'Get Rich Quick' - schemes offering impressive financial gain. Can appear as a fake website or even be introduced to you through social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram
- Missed delivery emails - posing as a reputable delivery company, fake messages to say you have missed a postal delivery and you need to click on links to re-arrange the delivery. They will then ask for your bank details to pay for this delivery
- Fake Job adverts - promising you employment and asking you to provide your personal details such as banking, passport and driving license
Report a Scam
If you, a family member or a friend think you may have been a victim of a scam you can report this to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service. They will provide you with practical, and impartial advice, as well as help to stop others being scammed.
Report a Scam
Vitamin and health food scams
- once items have been purchased, products will often arrive periodically with payments taken from your bank account. You may also be inundated with calls and your details may be sold to other companies selling similar products
- Top Tip - buy vitamins from high street stores who will not pressure you into buying more or send you unwanted items
Call blocker scams
- claim to provide call blocking services but fail to prevent nuisance calls despite taking payment
- Top Tip - never sign up to call blocking service providers that have made contact with you
Prize draw scams
- tell you that you have won large sums of money on fake lottery or prize draws
- Top Tip - legitimate companies will never ask you for money to make a purchase or claim a prize
Bank account compromised scams (push payment scams)
- claim to be from your bank, and tell you that your account has been compromised and funds need to be transferred to a safe account. The safe account actually belongs to the scammers who may have knowledge of account numbers/ transaction details
- Top Tip - never give your financial details to anyone calling you. Call or visit your bank at a later time, preferably from a different telephone on a trusted number
Bogus doorstep callers
- doorstep callers - for example, property maintenance scams such as jet washing your roof which actually causes damage and is not necessary
- Top Tip - never buy products or have work carried out by people knocking your door. The Fix-a-Home scheme of listed traders is a good point of reference for any work you may need carried out
We work in partnership with the Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS).
- record details of your complaint
- provide relevant advice on your consumer rights
- forward the complaint details to the relevant Trading Standards department of police for further investigation
Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm only.
- You can call during office hours and ask to speak to a Scams Unit Officer on 01384 818871