Lonely people four times more likely to be scammed, Suffolk Trading Standards warn

Suffolk Trading Standards is increasingly finding scams on electronic devices such as phones, laptop

Suffolk Trading Standards is increasingly finding scams on electronic devices such as phones, laptops and tablets Picture: SCANRAIL/GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK PHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Vulnerable and lonely people in Suffolk are four times more likely to be taken in by a scam, according to Suffolk Trading Standards, as a fresh drive to get people reporting fraudsters gets underway.

Throughout June – National Scam Awareness Month – Suffolk Trading Standards is aiming to highlight some of the common scams affecting people in the county, and why it is vital such cons are reported.

Trading Standards statistics revealed that only between 5% and 15% of all scams nationally are reported, with those who are lonely four times more likely to fall for one.

Alice Tomkins, community engagement officer at Suffolk Trading Standards said: “What we want to do is get people talking about it and reduce the stigma, so that’s what it is all about.”

Among the key crimes the team is tackling at the moment are firms purporting to be from Microsoft telling people their computers are infected, a new scam email from a firm pretending to be Companies House and the more traditional rogue traders cold calling.

However, a rise in social media related cons has appeared in recent years, including one surrounding a ‘dislike’ button on Facebook, WhatsApp-based schemes and one reporting to win Aldi vouchers.

They are also expecting a rise in ticket company scams for events such as music festivals and the World Cup.

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The team said a recent incident in Haverhill resulted in a former barrister almost transferring £27,000 to a bank in Canada.

James Garrett, Trading Standards officer, said: “The effect is not just on older, vulnerable people, it’s also young people being targeted.

“The older people get scammed by more traditional means – postal schemes, cold callers.

“Our advice is if it seems too good to be true it usually is.

“It’s about being vigilant and cynical and not responding to them.”

Suffolk Trading Standards is urging people to report any activities they are concerned about to help prevent scams before they take a wider effect, and said it is easier to stop a scam as it is happening instead of once money or personal details have been handed over.

To report a concern call 03454 040506 or email tradingstandards@suffolk.gov.uk.