Scams Awareness Month takes place every May and is designed to alert people to scams in their local area.
Citizens Advice estimate that ‘every year more than three million people in the UK fall victim to scams’ (www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scams_awareness). So although being successfully targeted by fraudsters may feel embarrassing, it is by no means rare.
Hillingdon council, for example, was recently successful in securing justice against a business called SAS Fire and Security Systems Ltd. The company had been targeting older people with expensive security contracts, based on the initial offer of a free alarm. You can read more on this story here: hillingdon.gov.uk/article/25049
People who are isolated or have savings set aside are often key targets for scams. Some older people fall into this category but, by practising vigilance and researching traders online amongst other things, savvy consumers can avoid being caught out.
Here at Age UK London we’re joining in the fight against ‘cowboy’ traders, with the Age UK London Business Directory.
The directory only lists companies that have been checked by us and deemed to be reputable and reliable. Try it for yourself here: http://www.aubdlondon.co.uk/
In the meantime here are three ways to spot a potential rogue…
- Pushy sales methods that require an immediate decision
- No available landline number or UK postal address
- Not a member of the relevant trade body or regulator (For example Gas Safe for plumbers or NICEIC for electricians)
Age UK also publishes an online guide on avoiding scams, and there are more hints and tips on our website: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/consumer-advice/scams-advice/
So this Scams Awareness Month take back your power as a consumer and don’t be afraid to politely say, “no thank you,” if you are unsure of a traders credentials.