An estimated 3.6 million scams and frauds were reported last year. This is across the board and will include phishing emails, rogue traders, mass marketing fraud etc. Worryingly, over 80% of online fraud goes unreported, making it hard to gain an accurate picture of the true cost and impact to the public each year.
Citizens Advice Manchester and Trading Standards are joining forces to give people in Manchester the knowledge to identify, avoid and report scams.
Citizens Advice Manchester will be running a series of events with the support of Trading Standards throughout July as part of Scams Awareness Month, a national campaign encouraging people to report and talk about scams.
Scammers can strike at any time, from cold-calling people with a fake investment opportunity to posting online adverts for products which don’t exist.
Citizens Advice Manchester and Trading Standards will be at the following venues in order to talk to people about scams and the tricks and tactics scammers use to try and steal people’s money, such as making contact out of the blue and piling pressure on people to agree to a deal on the spot:
3rd July - ASDA Harpurhey, M9 4DJ - 10am-2pm
7th July - Zion Community Resource Centre, 339 Stretford Rd, M15 4ZY - 10am-2pm
11th July – Trussell Trust, St Cuthbert’s Hall, Palatine Road, M20 3LH - 12pm-2pm
18th July - Barclay's Bank Manchester, Market Street - 10am-12pm
21st July - ASDA Hulme, Princess Road, M15 5AS - 10am-2pm
24th July - Barclay's Bank Manchester, St Ann’s Square - 10am-12pm
26th July – Trussell Trust, St Edmund's, Alexandra Road South, M16 8EZ - 1pm-3pm
The events also aim to get more people reporting scams so the authorities can chase down fraudsters. Reporting being scammed also means that people can receive advice on how to try and get their money back or any other steps they should take to protect themselves.
Andy Brown, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Manchester, said:
“Knowing how to spot a scam is the best line of defence against being scammed.
“While scammers will always use tactics like cut-price deals and pressure selling to draw people in, there are more ways for scammers to reach people with different bogus offers - from texts and emails to social media and online adverts. People will be able to take away a few key tips from the events which will help protect them against a range of different scams.
“People are also often reluctant to talk about scams so we want these events to bring the issue out into the open and look forward to seeing as many people as possible at some point over the month.”
Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council executive member for Neighbourhoods, said:
“Events are set to be held across the city to make people aware of the danger of scammers.
“The techniques being used to obtain people’s personal details are constantly evolving which is why it’s important we all keep up to date with the latest trends.
“Scammers can be incredibly persuasive and their methods sophisticated. There is no shame in falling victim to a scam and I hope by talking about the issue more people will feel comfortable enough to report incidents.”