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Scam Alert

Beware: one in 25 adults fall for scams in 2009 – 16/02/2010

The annual campaign, highlights how scammers are targeting unsuspecting people by using increasingly sophisticated and manipulative tactics.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today launched the Trading Standards Service 2010 Scams Awareness campaign in Belfast.

The annual campaign, highlights how scammers are targeting unsuspecting people by using increasingly sophisticated and manipulative tactics.

New research for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) reveals the scale of mass-marketed scams in the UK, which arrive by post, email, text, phone or the internet, and aim to mislead people to part with their cash. It is estimated that around one in 11 adults have responded to a scam at some time in their life, of whom nearly a third lost money.

Arlene Foster said:“Every day hundreds of people are being targeted by scammers. Within the last 12 months it is estimated that one in 25 adults have responded to a scam and around half of those scammed have lost more than £50.

“Through the Scam Awareness Campaign, Trading Standards hope to make individuals aware of the variety of scams out there and the lengths that con-artists will go to separate people from their hard earned money.”

Trading Standards Service (TSS) is now calling on the public to help combat the scammers by sending any scam mailings they receive during February to the Trading Standards Service at 176 Newtownbreda Road, Belfast, BT8 6QS. Anyone who receives a large volume of scam mailings can contact Domain Scams on 0845 600 6262 and arrange for them to be collected.

Damien Doherty, TSS said: “Scams can bring real upset and misery to their victims and we want people to be on their guard and to know that help is available. People need to recognise the warning signs, and feel confident enough to seek advice from friends and family or from Domain Scams.

“TSS is working hard with other enforcement agencies and across geographical boundaries to clamp down on scammers. Although scams are becoming ever more sophisticated and prevalent, we are determined to fight these crooks.”

To help protect yourself and those you care about, TSS is encouraging people to remember the following tips:

· Stop, think and be sceptical. If something sounds too good to be true it probably is.
· Do not be rushed into sending off money to someone you do not know, however plausible they might sound and even where an approach is personalised.
· Ask yourself how likely it is that you have been especially chosen for this offer – thousands of other people will probably have received the same offer.
· Think about how much money you could lose from replying to a potential scam – it’s not a gamble worth taking.

During Scams Awareness Month, TSS will also take roadshows across Northern Ireland to warn the public about scams. The first is at the Westwood Centre on Monday 22 February, where TSS officers will be on hand to give advice and provide a free information pack on how to spot a scam.

Consumers who have feel that they are a victim of a scam or suspect a scam should contact Domain Scams on 0845 600 6262 or 028 9025 3900 or alternatively log onto the Domain Scams website at

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