Isle MP Andrew Percy has pledged his support to a campaign aimed at tackling scams and encouraging victims to come forward, after figures showed 95 per cent of such crimes go unreported.
Andrew has joined forces with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the National Trading Standards Scams Team as part of the ‘Stand Against Scams’ campaign, which calls upon parliamentarians across the UK to help raise awareness of the massive financial and emotional impact from mass marketing scams.
Andrew joins other elected officials and community leaders, across the UK, who have signed up to become a #scambassador, who will each lead the fight against criminals in their local communities.
Organisations involved in tackling these scams use a number of methods, including blocking nuisance calls, training front-line staff, such as postmen and postwomen, as well as identifying and advising those most vulnerable to be targeted, and working with victims after a scam.
Research has shown that 53% of those over 65 have been targeted by scammers. However, scams can affect anyone and it is estimated that the total consumer cost from mass marketing scams annually is between £5 – 10 billion!
Andrew said: “Many of us will fall victim to a scam at some point in our lives so it is essential that action is taken against scammers that often target the most vulnerable and elderly people in our community.
“These scams can happen in a number of ways, from doorstep sellers to telephone calls or through emails, and often claim to be from a widely recognised company or organisation. I’ve recently reported a scam, which involves calls claiming to be from staff working for HMRC, to both HMCR and Action Fraud, after a number of local residents raised their concerns with me.
“I would urge anyone that has been the victim of a scam to report it to the authorities to make sure that these criminals are dealt with appropriately and they cannot use their tactics on anyone else again. I would also encourage everyone to be vigilant and if you are ever in doubt, take time to check what you are being told.”
Leon Livermore, CTSI Chief Executive, comments, “About £52 billion is lost to scams every year and while it is often society’s most vulnerable, it is important to remember that anyone can fall victim.
“The impact is often heart-breaking and we know of people who have lost their life savings or even re-mortgaged their homes after becoming a repeated target.”
Louise Baxter, manager of the NTS Scams Team, adds, “The tactics used by scammers leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors.
“I would encourage all those that are interested in showing their support to join the campaign and be part of our #scambassador network which is already starting to grow.”
The average age of a scam victim is 74 but according to Action Fraud 53 per cent of people aged 65 or older have been targeted, with some known to have re-mortgaged their homes to cover loses.
Last month, a 90 year-old woman from Sutton was conned out of £60,000 in a decade-long postal scam which started when the victim ordered make-up advertised in a mail order catalogue.
Meanwhile, a Lincoln pensioner has recently thanked trading standards for their help in preventing her from being scammed out of hundreds of pounds after she responded to scam mail.
Anyone who thinks they have been the victim of a scam, or have become aware of an attempted scam, can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud