CRUEL con-artists are cheating residents out of thousands of pounds across the Littlehampton area, the Citizens Advice Bureau has warned.
The Arun and Chichester CAB, which has a base in Anchor Springs, Littlehampton, is urging people not to be duped by heartless crooks.
The thought that there are people out there who are capable and cruel enough to deliberately target the most vulnerable people in our community, with the intention of stealing their money, is abhorrent.Sandy O’Neill, advice session supervisor with the CAB,
The warning comes after it was a revealed that criminals had taken advantage of a grieving woman from Littlehampton, fleecing her out of thousands of pounds after her husband died.
Sandy O’Neill, advice session supervisor with the CAB, was appalled by the news.
She said: “The thought that there are people out there who are capable and cruel enough to deliberately target the most vulnerable people in our community, with the intention of stealing their money, is abhorrent.”
As scam awareness month drew to a close on Friday (July 31), the CAB had a final drive to issue some key advice to residents to stop them falling foul of scammers.
The organisation is calling on residents to help them in exposing scams and stop more victims from falling prey to callous cheats.
The CAB said that, although scamming was not uncommon, many people felt too ashamed to report that they had been caught out.
Figures show fewer than five per cent of victims, nationally, report scams to authorities.
This is something the bureau is desperate to see change.
Lucy Birkinshaw, research and campaigns co-ordinator for Arun and Chichester CAB said people did not deserve to suffer in silence.
“Scams are cruel crimes that damage consumer confidence and at worst blight the lives of victims and their families,” she said. “Hence, it is vital that we inform people about the type of scams to watch out for and encourage people to report if they have been scammed to make sure no one else falls foul of their tricks.”
The campaign is appealing for locals to start talking about any suspicious emails, junk mail, online ads or door-to-door sellers operating in their area.
Scams are often run by professional con-artists and it can be hard to know what to look out for, the CAB said.
They can come in every form, from doorstep double glazing sales to online investment offers.
People may also be targeted with ‘fishing’ calls where a fraudster impersonates their bank to collect their bank details, or by bogus companies offering computer services.
Online scams, which have become more prevalent in recent years, can range from dodgy job adverts to offers for goods and services, while traditional mail scams may ask victims to pay a fee in order to claim their winnings from a prize draw they haven’t entered.
The general advice being released is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
A CAB spokeswoman added: “If you’re contacted out of the blue be on your guard, and never give your bank details out unless you are certain you know who the person is, and that you can trust them.
“If you think you have been scammed, contact Citizens Advice for help and report it to Trading Standards.”
To report a scam, call the CAB on 03454 04 05 06 or for advice, see www.adviceguide.org.uk
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