Coronavirus scams are in operation in Nottinghamshire. Visit our COVID-19 and scams page to find out more.
Scams affect the lives of many people across Nottinghamshire. They come in many forms and it is impossible to know about all of them.
Anyone can fall for a scam, but some people are more vulnerable due to their circumstances and are therefore more likely to be targeted by criminals. People who lose money to scams often also experience loneliness, shame and social isolation. There is no need to feel ashamed, there are agencies that can provide help and advice.
People who reply to scams aren't stupid. We know that the criminals are very clever and know what to say to get money out of anyone. Once someone has replied once, we know that their contact details are passed on to other criminal gangs and they will then receive other scams.
Some scams are specifically targeted at businesses, for example publishing scams. Some information about business scams can be found on the Business Companion website.
Our Trading Standards team works with many organisations including Citizens Advice, Nottinghamshire Police and the Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness of the issues around scams and provide advice and support.
If you are a carer or have an older relative, please be on the lookout for any signs that they have been scammed. Each situation is different but typical signs could include:
- if you have elderly relatives, friends or neighbours, you can help protect them from scams by becoming a Friend Against Scams. This is a national scheme which is free to join and includes an online awareness session or local workshop event
- receiving lots of unwanted calls
- unusual transactions on bank statements
- becoming unwilling to go out (just in case they miss the next phone call telling them what they have won)
- no money to buy food / pay bills
- lots of mail about prize draws, lotteries, or unwanted catalogues
- unwilling to throw any old post away.
If you receive a phone call or letter that causes you concern, talk about it with a friend. Share your concerns. They may have received it too. It's always worth talking to your bank and letting them know your concerns.
Types of scams
Scams can fall in to some broad categories and here are some examples:
- Doorstep: People call at your door telling you that a roof tile is loose, your driveway needs repairing, they can cut trees down cheaply, try to sell you a mattress or some fish etc. Find out more about doorstep callers.
- Telephone: Phone calls telling you that you need to pay an urgent bill and requesting your bank details, companies offering services to reduce you unwanted phone calls.
- Online: 'Copycat' websites selling services that are either free or cheaper via the official Government route.
- Post: Letters informing you that you have won a prize, psychics telling you they can predict harm is coming your way and for a fee they can protect you, catalogues promises you a prize if you place another order quickly.
While scams aren’t always easy to spot, we’ve put together some top tips on protecting yourself and your loved ones from scams.
- Always ask for identification from those who turn up out of the blue at your property, and if in doubt call the organisation directly to verify
- Be suspicious of requests for money up front and never feel pressured into handing any over
- Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help and support. Those who are genuine will be happy to wait for your response
- Legitimate organisations will not contact you out of the blue to ask for payment. Make sure to remember this if you are contacted.
- If an email does not look right, never click on links or attachments. If you are unsure about whether an email is genuine, ask family and friends to make sure
- Protect your financial information, especially from those you don’t know. Never give your bank card or pin number to a stranger
- If in doubt, don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door!
Sign up for scam alerts
- Register to receive our emailme updates and select the 'Scam alerts' option.
- Nottinghamshire Alert allows Nottinghamshire Police, local authorities, Neighbourhood Watch and other public organisations to keep local people informed about issues affecting their area in a timely way.
If you receive lots of scam mail, you can help take a stand against scams by becoming a Scam Marshal. Scam Marshals share their own experiences by sending in their scam mail to a national team who use it to fight scams. You can register yourself or on behalf of someone else.
- Consumer advice and information
- View a video about scams by Friends Against Scams
- Think Jessica website: protecting elderly and vulnerable people from scams which come through the postal system and criminals who contact them by telephone
- The Silver Line Helpline (helpline for older people): 0800 4 70 80 90
- Citizens Advice Consumer Service or call 0808 223 1133 for further advice or help for a relative
- A to Z of fraud on Action Fraud website
- Find out about neighbourhood watch schemes in your area or how to set up your own scheme.