Top tips issued by Trading Standards to avoid scammers

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Scams are schemes used to con consumers and businesses out of their money and can come in a variety of ways: post, phone, email, online, or via a knock on the door.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards team wants to make you aware of the different types and what to do if you think you or anyone you know has been targeted.

July is National Scams Awareness Month, an annual opportunity for everyone to take a united stand against practices which cause untold misery for millions of people each year.

To help make people aware of the sheer extent of scams and the threat they pose, trading standards officers are posting a series of tweets throughout July from the Twitter account @AberdeenshireTS. These will help people recognise the tell-tale signs of a scam, in whatever form it comes, and what can be done.

Officers are also working on an information leaflet which will be a guide to various types of scams, including advice on dealing with them.

Below are some of the more common types of scam:

• Lotteries - A phone call, text or email proclaims a huge lottery win – even though the receiver hasn’t bought a ticket.

In order to collect winnings people are asked to send money to cover “processing” or “administration” costs.

• Advance fee - A letter offers a huge payment in return for help in getting money out of a foreign country. People are promised a slice of that money for helping with the transfer.

They may be asked for bank details. Once they have these the fraudsters raid the victim’s bank account.

• Clairvoyants and psychics - Mailings from a so-called psychic or clairvoyant make predictions.

Some warn of dire consequences unless a fee is paid, some promise a bright future with details to follow if people pay up first.

Those who send money get little or nothing in return and are likely to be bombarded by further scam mailings.

Information on many of the current scams is available on the Trading Standards pages of the council website.