Warning Issued About Cost-Of-Living Scammers

Trading Standards Service (TSS) has warned consumers to "be on their guard" as new research by Citizens Advice has found that millions of people have been targeted by scammers as the cost-of-living crisis continues to take hold.

Ahead of many households receiving vital government help for the cost-of-living crisis, TSS in conjunction with the UK’s Consumer Protection Partnership, has launched its annual Scams Awareness campaign to help people protect themselves from opportunistic scammers.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: "We know scammers prey on our worries and fears and the cost-of-living crisis is no exception. As the purse strings are tightened and financial pressures pile on, it is more important than ever we recognise the red flags. Anyone can fall victim to a scam. People of all ages and backgrounds get scammed. It is important to be on your guard – if you are not sure about something, take your time and get advice.”

Damien Doherty, Chief Inspector for Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service, said: "Unfortunately we have seen over many years that scammers seek to exploit vulnerability. During times of difficulty, we often see a corresponding increase in relating scams and from early data, the cost-of-living crisis seems to be no different.

"TSS has seen a range of different cost-of-living scam tactics used by scammers including impersonation scams and cryptocurrency scams.
News Image
"With more than three quarters of UK adults having said that they have been targeted by a scammer this year, a 14% increase compared to this time last year, if you think someone might be trying to scam you, it is important to act straight away. If you need advice, guidance or support please call Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or log on to their website.”

Some of the most common types of scams reported to TSS include:

• Deliveries, postal or courier services smishing scams

• Someone offering a fake investment or financial "get rich quick” schemes

• Someone pretending to be from the government or HMRC

• Someone pretending to be from your bank

• Online Shopping

• Fake loan scams

• Health or medical

• Energy scams

If you have been scammed:

• Talk to your bank or card company immediately if you have handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment.

• Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, use the Action Fraud online reporting tool, and contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 for advice.

• Text scams can be reported to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726 (SPAM)

• Beware of follow up scams. Sometimes after reporting a scam, you might get targeted again by a fraudster who says they can get your money back. Change your contact details- sadly, if you have been scammed once, you are more likely to be targeted again. It might be worth changing your number and/or email address if you are being bombarded by cold calls and spam.

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

28 July 2022
Political Stalemate 'Failing Families'
The current political stalemate is failing families facing huge energy bill increases, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said. He was speaking after analysis carried out by BFY estimated that energy prices could hit £3,420 in October and that the average customer could end up "facing a bill of £500 in January alone".
05 November 2021
NI's New Electric Double Decker Buses Unveiled
The first of 80 battery electric double decker buses will be in service by spring 2022, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced. The Minister has announced up to £74 million will be invested providing 100 new zero emission buses, 20 of which will be Hydrogen fuelled buses, and a programme of associated infrastructure works.
02 November 2021
£500,000 Fund For Community 'Living Spaces'
Funding of £500,000 has been announced for local communities to create green spaces such as living walls, rain gardens and allotments. The Living Places and Spaces grant scheme, administered in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund, is now open for applications.
01 November 2021
NI Executive Committed To Tackling Climate Emergency
The NI Executive is committed to tackling the climate emergency, building a cleaner environment and creating new green jobs, the First and deputy First Ministers have said ahead of their attendance at the COP26 World Leaders Summit in Glasgow.
13 October 2021
Dispute Over Role Of First Minister 'Manufactured Crisis'
Unionist parties have been urged to "step back" from campaigns designed to diminish parity of esteem for all people in the North, by Social Democratic and Labour Party leader, Colum Eastwood.