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There are two main types of scams:

  • A mass marketing scam is a misleading or deceptive business practice where the person is ‘cold-called’ (unsolicited or uninvited contact) by letter, email, phone or advertisement and false promises are made to obtain money.
  • A doorstep scam is where victims are cold-called at their homes and persuaded to part with money.

It’s easier to spot a scam if you know what to look for. Be careful if:

  • an opportunity comes out of the blue or from someone you don’t know
  • something sounds out of the ordinary – such as winning the lottery, or being invited to invest in an ‘amazing’ scheme which must be kept secret
  • you are asked to pay for something in advance – especially by bank transfer
  • you are asked for personal information – such as bank details, computer passwords or PIN numbers
  • you are pressured into buying something or making a decision quickly – a trustworthy company will be happy to wait
  • you are asked to phone an expensive number – these usually start with 070, 084, 087, 090, 091 or 098

The Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service is at the forefront of tackling financial abuse through their activities in identifying, visiting and supporting victims of scams. They are also actively working in partnership with the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team to deliver key education to help promote the continued health and wellbeing of those potentially at risk.

Getting help

Action Fraud

If you think that you’ve already experienced scamming, you should report the crime or incident to Action Fraud, not your local police service (unless it is an emergency). Action Fraud will initiate any necessary police investigation into your loss.

0300 123 2040

Victim Support

Contact Victim Support if a scam has made you feel anxious, fearful or guilty. They provide emotional and practical help to victims of crimes and scams.

08 08 16 89 111

Age UK

Age UK Advice Line is available if you want care and support if you think that you have been scammed.

0800 678 1602