Derby residents are being reminded to be vigilant of potential scammers in line with Scam Awareness Month.

Scams affect millions of people every year. They can be conducted via call, text, email and are now increasingly happening over social media.

A number of recent cases have been highlighted in Derby. Earlier this month, two businesses reported scam incidences to the Council’s Trading Standards team.

The first was from a local business who filled out what they believed was an obligatory form asking for VAT details. As a result, they incurred a £797 charge due to details outlined in the small print. Following advice from the Federation of Small Businesses, the local business is now chasing demands to reach a court settlement.

A second incident was in relation to a business owner who signed up to invest in a binary company after being promised guaranteed profit. The money he invested then disappeared and the owner was unable to gain contact with the company to retrieve it. The case is now being investigated for action.

A resident also recently reported a call he received from someone unknown offering to reduce his Council Tax. Fortunately, he recognised it was likely to be a scam and declined. However, in some cases this could have resulted in victims being tricked into paying money to a fraudster.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has outlined how to spot a scam to ensure people remain vigilant and look out for scam warning signs.

It could be a scam if you:

  • Get a call, text or email out of the blue – genuine companies and banks won’t ask you for your full personal or security details
  • See a deal that’s very cheap or too good to be true
  • Are rushed to make a decision or give someone details – if it’s real, you shouldn’t have to make a decision straight away
  • Are asked to send money or your bank details to someone you’ve never met, especially friends online
  • Are asked to pay for something up front, like collecting a loan or starting a job
  • Get a text saying your bank needs to contact you ‘urgently’ especially if there’s a link to a website or premium rate number

Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection, commented: “It’s important our residents remain cautious and keep an eye out for all potential scammers. We encourage people to take great care when purchasing goods or services online and to be vigilant if they’re approached directly about details of their personal accounts.

“The campaign is being run by Citizens Advice with support from local authorities and charities across the UK. Being cautious and attentive will help us to reduce the number of scams taking place.”

For further information on Scam Awareness, please visit: http://scams.citizensadvice.org.uk/ or to contact Citizens Advice directly, please call 0345 040506.