Citizens Advice in Dorset is warning residents to watch out for scam text messages after a survey revealed that two out of three people in the South West have been targeted by scammers so far in 2021.
According to Citizens Advice, the biggest scam faced by people in Swanage is text messages to mobile phones arranging redelivery of online purchases. These frequently ask for personal details or additional payments.
The new research by Citizens Advice in Dorset found that since January, 69% of people surveyed in the South West region had been targeted by a scammer.
Helen Goldsack of Citizens Advice in Purbeck is warning about scam texts
Treat all unexpected texts “with caution”
Helen Goldsack, chief officer of Citizens Advice in East Dorset and Purbeck, said:
“One example experienced by residents in Swanage and Purbeck is the increasing number of scam texts to mobile phones about arranging redelivery of items bought online.
“These can appear to come from well known delivery companies with links to believable websites but can lead to requests for personal details or additional payment.
“We advise everyone to treat all unexpected calls, emails and text messages with caution and not to assume they are genuine.”
Scams Awareness poster
People urged to report scams
Many people in the South West region say they’re worried that they or a loved one could fall victim to a scam, with 66% of those surveyed saying they’re concerned this might happen.
To encourage people to report scams, share their experiences and look out for others, Citizens Advice in Dorset and Trading Standards have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign which runs until Sunday 27th June 2021.
Citizens Advice chief officer Rovarn Wickremasinghe says a shocking number of Dorset residents have been targeted
“Shocking number of people” targeted
Rovarn Wickremasinghe, chief officer of Citizens Advice Bridport, said:
“A shocking number of people in rural Dorset have been targeted by a scammer so far this year.
“As life begins to unlock, it’s so important we all do our bit and report anything that looks like a con when we see it.
“By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks.”
Citizens Advice in Dorset offers tips to avoid scammers
“Too good to be true”
To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, Citizens Advice in Dorset and Trading Standards are sharing the following tips on how to spot them.
It might be a scam if:
- It seems too good to be true – for example, a holiday that’s much cheaper than you’d expect
- You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – for example, if there’s no postal address
- You’ve been pressured to transfer money quickly or in an unusual way – like by iTunes vouchers or a transfer service
- You’ve been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
- You haven’t had written confirmation of what’s been agreed
Concerned people can get in touch with their local Citizens Advice
“Financial or sensitive information”
Those who think they might have been scammed are advised to talk to their bank or card company if they have handed over financial or sensitive information.
Online scams can be reported to the dedicated Scams Action service, either online or on 0808 250 5050.
People can also report offline scams, like those that take place on the telephone, by post and on the doorstep, to Citizens Advice online or by calling 0808 223 1133.
More information is on the East Dorset and Purbeck Citizens Advice website or by phoning Dorset Adviceline freephone number 0800 144 8848.