Residents in Lincolnshire are being ambushed by persistent scammers as figures reveal 350 victims reported fraudsters to police in one year.
Lincolnshire Police and the Lincolnshire Trading Standards team are clamping down on scammers, with national trading standards officers estimating that around 95% of scams go unreported.
Police say at least one in 20 people fall victim to criminals who cleverly engineer scams such as bogus worldwide lotteries, ‘free’ prize draws guaranteeing luxury items, fake Clairvoyants with physic abilities, , inheritance fortunes from long lost relatives and sweepstakes worth thousands.
Every year scams fraudulently swindle £9 billion from the pockets of UK residents.
The joint Lincolnshire operation aims to safeguard over 1,600 vulnerable residents, who are known to have been targeted by criminal networks who are operating in sending scam mail.
Kirsty Toyne, senior trading standards officer, said: “Scammers usually target our most vulnerable residents and will try every trick in the book to swindle cash from them. In many cases this is thousands of pounds.
“We are working hard to visit those who have been placed on what has become commonly known as the ‘suckers list’.
“We are working closely with other key partnership agencies including Lincolnshire Police, the Wellbeing Teams, Lincolnshire Carers, Age UK and many others to help protect vulnerable people in our community”.
Trading standards said a recent visit to a retired businessman in the county revealed he was sending approximately £120 a week to scammers.
Safeguarding measures were taken by working closely with key safeguarding agencies such as the Home Independent Agency, his bank and Revive Volunteers through the Police. He is now on a pathway to having the support he needs to improve his overall wellbeing.
The following advice has been issued to Lincolnshire residents:
• Say ‘no’ – to unwanted, uninvited callers
• Be wise to rogue traders – too good to be true offers
• Don’t feel pressured to make a decision – say no, or seek advice first
• Be wise to postal scams – no legitimate business will ask for money to claim a prize
• Keep personal details safe – could be used fraudulently in the wrong hands
• Research the credentials of the company – be certain they’re not bogus
• Be online savvy – Check who you’re communicating with online
• Talk to someone you trust – If you’re suspicious
• Report a scam – help expose the criminals
• Know you are not alone – anyone can be a victim, report it and get the right support