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We engage with potential scam victims in the Dudley Borough, to raise awareness, improve reporting of scams and stop financial abuse.

What is a scam

Scams are created to trick you into handing over money or personal details.  It is important to remember a scam is fraud and fraud is a crime.

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, it can happen to anyone.

To get victims hooked and responding to scams, criminals rely on:

  • shame
  • social isolation
  • loneliness
  • vulnerable circumstances
  • and the fact that victims might not always admit (or even be aware) that they are a 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. 

Types of scams

Postal scams

  • Lottery or Prize Draw Scams - claim that victims 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, e.g. home/ garden products, ‘miracle cures’, vitamins, etc. whilst also claiming that victims 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 the victim stating that money from the will of a recently deceased individual is due to them.

Telephone scams

  • Vishing - a telephone call is used in an attempt to steal personal information.
  • SMShing - occurs when mobile phone SMS text messages are used in an attempt to scam the victim into divulging their personal information.
  • Investment or ‘Boiler Room’ Scam - a telephone call offers worthless, overpriced or non-existent shares.
  • Pension Scam – a telephone call lures people to cash in their pension with promises of upfront cash, guaranteed returns and one-off deals.
  • Computer Scam - a telephone call states that there is a problem with the victim’s computer or laptop and help is offered to fix the issue.

Online scams

  • Phishing - an email from the “bank” designed to trick victims into revealing their 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 confidence scam whereby 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 obtain personal information and steal money, often claiming that the victim is due a refund or must make an urgent payment. Example of this scam: HMRC Tax Rebate Scam and the Council Tax Scam.

Doorstep scams

  • Doorstep callers (Rogue Traders) – criminals pose as legitimate business people, selling goods or services that are faulty, unnecessary, overpriced, poor quality or non-existent.
  • Bogus callers (Distraction Burglary) – criminals pose as legitimate business people in an attempt to enter the victim’s home to commit theft by distracting the victim.

Popular scams

Vitamin and health food scams

  • once items have been purchased, products will often periodically arrive 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 who have made contact with you

Prize draw scams

  • allege that victims have won large sums of money on fictitious lottery or prize draws
  • top tip - legitimate companies will never ask you for money to make a purchase or claim a prize

Bank account comprised scams (push payment scams)

  • claim to be from your bank, informing 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 discuss your financial details with 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/ property maintenance scams such as jet washing your roof which actually causes damage and is not recommended by chartered surveyors.
  • top tip – never buy products/ have work carried out by people knocking your door. The fix-a-home, listed trader scheme is a good point of reference for any work you may need carried out as those detailed have been vetted by trading standards and is updated annually