consumeradvice.scot is working in collaboration with partners at Trading Standards Scotland, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, to raise awareness of doorstep scams and the impacts that they have on Scottish consumers. The #ShutOutScammers campaign launches today (Monday 15th June 2020) and highlights the impacts that doorstep scams have on consumers in Scotland.
The partnership between the various organisations will share up to 10,000 hard copy guides to consumers through Covid-19 shielding packs and distribution by Police Scotland and Local Authority Trading Standards. This is to highlight the various resources and services that are out there to tackle potential scams, spotting the scammers and avoiding the potential negative outcomes as a result.
Due to current travel and social distancing restrictions, resources will also be available online, with information available to the public through the various partner pages. More information and access to these packs is available at www.consumeradvice.scot.
CEO of consumeradvice.scot, Andrew Bartlett said:
“Doorstep scams impact everyone. When our neighbours, friends and family members are targeted by rogue traders, the impacts are far-reaching – financially and emotionally. Targets of these scams are particularly vulnerable at this time due to the need for some to social distance from support networks that they could normally reach out to.”
“These scams place consumers in positions of serious detriment and ultimately affect us all. We would urge anyone who has been impacted by doorstep scams, including those dealing with a trader where something doesn’t feel quite right, to contact us.”
Organisers of the #ShutOutScammers campaign have put together an excellent toolkit for consumers, including advice from consumeradvice.scot and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland. This is available at www.tsscot.co.uk.
You can also follow the campaign on social media, using the hashtag #ShutOutScammers.
Scams impact consumers in different ways. Some common scams to look out for include:
These scammers can take the form of rogue traders or fake charity collectors. They may offer services which you don’t really need or attempt to be invited inside your property. This type of scammer is often scared off when asked for identification or if you ask to contact their organisation to confirm their credentials. Remain vigilant and always ask for identification – remember that a legitimate person will never mind being double checked!
Banking Fraud (Internet, Telephone and Mobile)
Scammers contact the consumer directly, purporting to represent their bank and informing them of a problem with their account. The scammer will ask the consumer to provide their personal details in order to rectify the problem. To sometimes add an air of authenticity, the scammer will ask the consumer to contact the number on the back of their card whilst they remain on the line and note any personal information which is discussed. These scams can also appear in the form of an email, where the consumer will be redirected to a seemingly authentic website where they enter their personal / banking details. Always double check you’re receiving a call or email from an authenticated source and contact your bank directly if unsure.
Phishing, Vishing & Smishing
Phishing is the use of email and postal methods for a scammer to gather information. Vishing is the use of the telephone or ‘voice’ to obtain your personal details. Smishing is the use of text message or ‘SMS’ to do the same thing. All of these methods are used by scammers to trick consumers into supplying information that can be used on its own, or paired with additional information to scam, extort or defraud. Stay vigilant – these scammers are very convincing, some even offering links to websites that look like the real deal.
Romance scams play on the emotions of the person being scammed. Many of these scammers use flattery and ‘love bombing’ – i.e. showering a person with compliments and declarations of affection very early on in a conversation to gain trust. When this trust is built, the scammer uses this and emotional blackmail to gather information or trick the target into giving them money.
HMRC / Tax Scam
Tax scams try to convince the consumer that they are either owed tax from or owe tax to HMRC. These scams can be very convincing, with emails and messages displaying the official branding and logos of HMRC. Tax scammers can also use telephone calls to convince targets to part with their information. Be vigilant and remember that HMRC would never request bank details via email or telephone on their first contact with you.
Technical Support Scams
These scams often take the form of a telephone call or popup information on your computer screen, informing you that you have a virus, or you require technical support. Legitimate technical support companies will not contact consumers by phone, email or text to inform you of a problem with your computer. Security pop-up warnings from real technical support companies will never ask consumers to call a number.
Tour Operator / Holiday Scams
This type of scam can involve false listings, deals that seem too good to be true or redirection to fake holiday booking websites. Check for logos (such as the ATOL logo and the ABTA icon) and confirm with these relevant bodies to ensure the website is registered under their schemes. Be careful and don’t be rushed into making a booking!
- Be vigilant – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Double check – Always verify credentials of visitors, salesmen and cold callers.
- Take your time – Legitimate companies and organisations should never force you to make on-the-spot decisions!
What is consumeradvice.scot?
consumeradvice.scot is a free and impartial multi-channel advice service for Scottish consumers and traders, delivered in partnership with the Scottish Government and Trading Standards. Our expert advisors can be contacted via telephone, email, webchat and social media.
What do we do?
consumeradvice.scot provides free, practical and impartial advice to Scottish citizens who have experienced consumer-related issues. Our expert advice delivers practical solutions to problems faced by consumers. We can offer advice on a wide range of topics, including:
– Rogue traders
– Retail complaints
– e-commerce complaints
– Health & Safety concerns
– Private Parking Tickets
– Complaints with Service Providers.
Consumer laws are in place to protect both citizens and traders. Staying aware of these laws and how they can apply to your situation enables relevant and informed action to be taken when required.
We refer cases onto Trading Standards when they warrant further investigation. If you believe a trader has been practicing illegally, contact one of our expert advisors for advice and referral. Our team will ensure that your concerns are handled effectively and efficiently, with minimum fuss.
consumeradvice.scot are able to offer free and practical advice on a number of consumer issues including scams. You can contact consumeradvice.scot on 0808 164 6000. We are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. You can follow us on social media – Twitter: @advicedotscot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/advice.scot, Instagram: @advice.scot, or get ahead by visiting our knowledge centre at www.consumeradvice.scot.