Midlothian Council Trading Standards is joining forces with the local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) during Scams Awareness Month .
This year’s campaign theme is ‘play your part, act on scams’, with the key message being to report scams and also share information about it to family, friends and neighbours.
Fashions in scams change but common ones at the moment include fake emails about tax rebates, emails from shopping websites about orders never made, fake lottery wins, fraudsters swindling money out of people on dating websites and fake investment opportunities.
The main advice given to avoid scams is: never give out your bank details or send money unless you are certain you can trust the person; be suspicious; your bank will never ask for your PIN or come to your home; make sure the website’s secure if you are buying online – check for the padlock or “https” next to the web address.
Councillor Russell Imrie (Lab), Midlothian Council cabinet member with responsibility for consumer protection, said: “Scammers are conning millions of innocent people every year. Scams can be carried out through computers, phones, letterboxes, and on the doorstep so be vigilant.
“The purpose of Scams Awareness Month is to encourage people to fight back against the fraudsters by reporting these scams.”
Research has shown that 45-60-year-olds are most affected by scams, but there is also a rise in the number of 18-24 -year-olds being scammed.
Sue Peart, branch manager of Penicuik CAB, said: “Citizens Advice staff hear almost daily from people who have lost out after being tricked. We are calling on the public to be more aware of how they could be scammed, and to report it if they get caught out.”