As this year’s scam awareness fortnight approaches, residents are warned to be extra cautious of coronavirus related scams.
Dudley Council is supporting the annual campaign organised nationally by Citizens Advice, which runs from June 15 to 28. This year’s campaign will focus on scams which have come about as a result of the pandemic and building consumer confidence.
There has been a rise in the number of coronavirus related scams across the country, where criminals are capitalising on people’s heightened anxieties and vulnerabilities.
Dudley borough is no exception. The council’s scams unit has received numerous calls from concerned residents who think they may have been targeted.
Scams could be emails or texts pretending to be from the government or charities asking for cash donations on the doorstep.
One example sees people receiving text messages claiming to be from the government’s test and trace service, asking people to submit financial details on an illicit website.
There have also been reports of people turning up on doorsteps and either claiming to be from the council or other organisations offering to clean their homes or food delivery services in exchange for cash in advance.
These people should be viewed with suspicion and should be reported to Dudley Council’s scams unit by calling 01384 818871. Staff are at the end of the phone to offer advice and support to any concerned residents.
The unit is also working closely with colleagues in the council’s living well, feeling safe and pleased to meet you teams to identify people who might be at a greater risk.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
"We’re really fortunate to have a scams unit in Dudley, which has the dedicated time to investigate reports and do prevention work in our communities.
"A big concern for us is that often scammers target the most vulnerable and isolated people in our communities and due to the current situation, there are potentially more people in this position than there normally would be and more susceptible to being targeted.
"The team will continue to keep up the fight against these criminals but I would like to take the opportunity to remind people to act with caution and remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Call the scams unit and seek advice."
Anyone who suspects a bogus caller is operating in their area should call 999 in an emergency or contact the dedicated bogus caller hotline on 01384 812045.
Or if someone believes they have been contacted by a scammer they should report it to Dudley Council’s scams unit on 01384 818871 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice is also available on the Citizens Advice website - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam/