Blackpool residents are being urged to help expose scams and stop others falling foul of clever cons which fleece them out of thousands of pounds.
Blackpool Council and Citizens Advice Blackpool have teamed up for Scams Awareness Month which runs throughout July.
It is hoped the partnership will offer advice to residents on scams relating to pensions, investments, couriers, dating, software and shopping and auctions. The campaign comes after one Blackpool resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, came to the attention of the council because her grandmother appeared on the list of people due a cash return from the National Scams Hub List. Her grandmother was owed more than £200 in postal orders to return, The woman, who has now passed away, had spent the last five years of her life sending money to prize draw companies and buying goods in order to win a prize.
Her granddaughter believes her grandmother spent over £5,000 on the scams. Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “If any residents would like to report a scam, or have been a victim of one, we would appreciate them making contact with us and can assure them of our confidentiality at all times.
“We can also make personal visits to our more vulnerable residents in their own homes if they would be more comfortable discussing their enquiry with us directly.”
Tracy Hopkins, chief executive officer from Citizens Advice Blackpool, added: “Scams thrive on silence.
“Fraudsters know that victims are often too ashamed to share what happened to them, meaning that scams can continue to spread unchecked.
“Scams are run by professional con artists and it can be very hard to know what to look out for. Our advice is that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Residents can ask questions about scams on the question and answer service on Blackpool Council’s website page www.blackpool.gov.uk/consumer, through our Twitter and Facebook pages or by calling (01253) 478375.
Residents can contact Citizens Advice Bureau on (01253) 308400.