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You could lose thousands if you fall for scams.


6:09am 4th February 2011

This year's nationwide Scamnesty campaign is telling consumers that scams are smart, but they can prove they're smarter: by spotting them and binning them.

To raise awareness of mass market scam mailings in the UK, the Office of Fair Trading and City of York Council's Trading Standards Service have joined forces in the Annual Scams Awareness Month, during which they are advising people to hand in any mail they suspect to be a scam.

Spotting scams isn't that easy, but they often come as a phone call, email or a letter from someone the recipient has never heard of and who offers scant information about themselves.

They are likely to have:

o elaborate marketing materials
o extravagant promises
o instructions to make a decision straight away
o requests for details of bank accounts and passwords.

Nearly half the UK adult population has been targeted by a scam. Every year, 3.2 million adults - that's one in 15 people - fall victim to deceptive, unsolicited mailings, phone calls or e mails, all designed to con victims out of their cash. As a result, UK consumers lose around a staggering £3.5 billion every year.

Scamnesty 2011 is calling on the people of York to fight back against the fraudsters by being sceptical and by collecting any scam mailings that land on their doormats. They can then be dropped into Scamnesty bins at 9 St Leonard's Place reception or posted to City of York CouncilTrading Standards, 9 St Leonard's Place, York YO1 7ET.

Judith Fardon, City of York Council's Trading Standards and Consumer Advice said

"Scamnesty will help raise awareness of mass-marketed scam mailings. Every day York residents are at risk from unscrupulous fraudsters who want to con them out of their cash and it is important that consumers recognise the increasingly sophisticated methods used."

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of a scam, or who suspects a scam is underway, should call Consumer Direct for advice on 08454 04 05 06, or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/reportscam

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