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Fraud, scams & safety

Scams hit the headlines almost every day with British consumers estimated to lose around £3.5 billion every year – the equivalent of £70 for every adult in the country. However, it is feared this figure is much, much higher as only 5% of scams victims report it to the authorities.

Scams are schemes to cheat people out of their money. They come in a variety of ways; by post, phone, email, online and sometimes by a knock on the door.

Put simply, scams are designed to cheat someone out of their money or obtain personal details for illegal purposes. Another name for scams is mass marketing fraud because the techniques used are designed to target a large number of people through the mail, telephones and email systems.

If you learn how to recognise a scam or fraud, then you will learn how to protect yourself, your family and friends.

Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Spot it – Discuss it – Report it!

If you think you or someone you know may have fallen victim to a scam report it to West Yorkshire Trading Standards or the police immediately. In many instances it is not possible to recover money or goods but a quick response with the right advice and support can help limit further losses.

Citizens Advice consumer helpline 03454 04 05 06 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) can provide advice and pass details onto Trading Standards

Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre; they provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and cyber crime.

National Trading Standards Scams Team has launched a ‘friends against scams campaign’.

West Yorkshire Police have advice on their website.

For information and advice about keeping your home and vehicle secure:

Doorstep scams involve someone coming to your door, potentially posing as an official, with the intention of scamming you out of money. While there are many legitimate trades people and officials, it is wise to be on your guard when you answer your door. Doorstep scammers can be pushy and persuasive and it can be easy to fall victim.

For further information and advice on doorstep scams and crimes visit:

Make sure your gas appliances at home are safe and take steps to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning and fire.

Find out more about staying safe from:

Visit the Age Concern website for advice on investment scams.

Although we would all like to get along well with our neighbours, sometimes we may face problems to do with noise, planning disputes, or anti-social behaviour.

Find out more about what to do and what rights you have at:

Or visit our Community Safety Pages on this website.

Not only are phone scams a real problem, but many people also suffer from cold calls, such as unsolicited sales calls, which can feel pushy and intrusive too. It is sometimes difficult to work out when a call is a scam or simply a cold call.

For more information and advice on nuisance calls visit:

For information about an unknown number visit:

If you have received a scam call or text, or if you have returned the call or text and you now realise it is a scam, you can report it on the website. You can also spread the word to protect others and add new numbers to help others avoid the harassment.

Free Call Blocking Devices: National Training Standards (NTS)
The Department of Culture Media & Sport provided funding to the NTS Scams Team for call blockers to tackle the issue of nuisance calls. The current focus is on protection of consumers with dementia.

The initial phase of the project started in April 2017, when local authorities were asked to identify people living in their communities with dementia that would benefit from a call blocker.

The second phase went live in November 2017, making free call blockers available to any person living with dementia who is receiving scam or nuisance calls.

To get a FREE call-blocking device YES should be answered to the following questions:

  1. Do you or the person you are applying for receive nuisance and scam calls?
  2. Does the person who would like the call blocker have dementia?

Friends Against Scams
Anyone can be involved in Friends Against Scams for example as a ‘Friend’, SCAM champion or a Friends Against Scams organisation.

It is sometimes difficult to spot the difference between scam mail and offers from legitimate companies. If you receive something which you are unsure about, do not respond.

We all get junk mail but some of it is actually scam mail – the post is an easy way for scammers to contact their victims from anywhere in the world and remain anonymous. Mail scams come in many guises – fake lottery wins, prize draws and associated catalogues, or clairvoyants demanding money to predict good or prevent bad luck. Mail scams are designed to trick their victims into parting with money, financial or personal details.

Talk about it to someone you trust, or call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 65 65.

Useful documents