Scams Awareness month: Stay alert to phone scams
Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) is warning people to be wary of telephone scams after a vulnerable local resident was conned into handing over large sums of money last year.
The resident, who has learning difficulties and lives on her own in Dunstable, had been unable to recognise that financial abuse was taking place until it was too late.
One caller on an international number befriended her and managing to convince her that they were a distant relative. This caller made regular, almost daily calls, with promises of a ‘reunion’ holiday together. They also regularly asked the victim to send money to pay for flight tickets, hotels and visas.
The victim was receiving an average of 12 scam telephone calls a day. On certain days she received over 25 calls.
Concerned by the volume of calls the victim contacted Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards Team.
Trading Standards installed a call-blocking device to help reduce the volume of unwanted calls. Over the following months the device successfully prevented up to 90% of all nuisance and scam calls, helping to protect her from further financial abuse.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said:
“The people committing these types of fraud are persistent, calling their victims a number of times a day using different phone numbers. They are very persuasive and will often hold some of the victim’s personal information which helps make them appear to be genuine.”
Over the last year, CBC’s Trading Standards officers have advised and supported nearly 200 residents who have been referred to them after falling victim to a suspected scam.
The types of cons ranged from telephone scams, mail order/catalogue scams, prize draws, bogus clairvoyants and doorstep callers.
If you have concerns about a suspected scam that you or someone else has received, contact the council’s Trading Standards Team by calling 03454 04 05 06.