The West Sussex Citizens Advice service and trading standards are teaming up to make a webinar to help people spot a scam.
It's after a report by the Citizen's Advice service in West Sussex found 65% of people in the South East had been targeted by a scammer since January.
Their research found that, although scams come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the most common one involved deliveries of parcels.
They found 56% of people in the area said they'd been contacted about a scam of this kind.
Many people in the South East say they're worried that they or a loved one could fall victim to a scam, with 61% saying they're concerned this might happen.
To encourage people to report scams, share their experiences and look out for others, Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) and Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice - together with Trading Standards - have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign.
Citizens Advice and Trading Standards in West Sussex are recording a short webinar to help people spot, avoid and report scams.
Look out for information about this on their websites (advicewestsussex.org.uk and arunchichestercab.org.uk) and on social media during Scams Awareness Fortnight from June 14th-27th, 2021.
Emma Cross, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) said:
"A shocking number of people in the South East have been targeted by a scammer so far this year.
"As well as tricking people over the phone we have seen people receiving fake text messages and emails from what look like official companies to get their details.
"With more people using online due to Covid, it's more important than ever to be vigilant.
"As life begins to unlock, it's so important we all do our bit and report anything that looks like a con when we see it.
"By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks."
Luca Badioli, Chief Officer of Arun & Chichester Citizens Advice said:
"Unfortunately, people often approach our services when they have already been scammed and the options available for them to recoup any money lost are minimal.
"This is why it is essential that we raise as much awareness as possible on all types of scams and that, together, we try to prevent scams from occurring. "
"Many victims of scams feel ashamed and do not report it.
"There is nothing to be ashamed about as scams are becoming highly sophisticated and we therefore urge any victim or potential victim to report any scams and potential scams to the relevant authorities."
To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, Citizens Advice services in West Sussex and Trading Standards are sharing the following tips on how to spot them.
It might be a scam if:
- it seems too good to be true - for example, a holiday that's much cheaper than you'd expect
- you suspect you're not dealing with a real company - for example, if there's no postal address
- you've been pressured to transfer money quickly or in an unusual way - like by iTunes vouchers or a transfer service
- you've been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
- you haven't had written confirmation of what's been agreed
If you've been scammed, Citizens Advice advises:
- talk to your bank or card company immediately if you've handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment
- report offline scams, like telephone, post and doorstep, to Citizens Advice online or by calling 0808 223 1133.
- report online scams to the dedicated Scams Action service either online or on 0808 250 5050
- report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040