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, "31":"Scams In this feature l online cons l identity fraud l sharing information A scam artists intention is to profit from whatever they touch, but North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards is fighting back through education. TS Today reports Midas touch S cams are cruel crimes and, if we get duped by one, it can really affect our confidence and, at worst, blight the lives of victims and their families. So says councillor Hazel Chase, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities at North East Lincolnshire Council. That is why trading standards have been getting the word out about scammers in the region. The main weapon in the councils arsenal is education, to prevent people from being stung in the first place. The public has to be given the information and confidence to identify scams, share experiences with others and report suspicious activity. Sadly, there are many kinds of scams for trading standards to educate people about, especially since the internet provides favourable conditions for white collar criminals. Around 84 per cent of identity fraud is now committed online, costing UK consumers 3.3 billion a year, while online shopping and auction scams the most common frauds reported in 2013 cost 63.6 million. The council provided local examples of attempted scams. In one case, a business owner received a mailshot from a company claiming that changes in legislation meant he needed Nearly half of the people in the UK have been to register his company VAT number. On closer inspection, he targeted by a scam. There is one for just noticed a 797 charge for doing about everything and everyone Neil Clark so in the small print. In another instance, a bogus email was sent to a Tesco customer saying they had won a prize after completing a customer satisfaction survey, but their bank details were required to claim the money. There are still plenty of offline scams, too. Officers became aware of an Immingham man who was about to invest 29,000 in a boiler room scam, in which fraudsters cold call investors offering them worthless, overpriced or even non-existent shares. Meanwhile, a Grimsby woman was called by a company claiming that she could make a PPI claim for a loan from 2005. They asked for her bank details, but she knew the call was a scam as she had never taken out such a loan. The councils trading standards officers use events like Scams Awareness Month to talk about such cases, as well as more common scams and ways that people can stay safe. They also understand the importance of informing a broad section of the population. As Neil Clark, North East Lincolnshire Councils community protection manager responsible for trading standards, points out: Its been estimated that nearly half of the people in the UK have been targeted by a scam either through the post, email, online or on the doorstep. There is a scam for just about everything and everyone. Sophisticated scam artists will always trick some people, but their chances of success are cut when stories are shared. Hazel Chase highlights the problem: We know only a small number of scam victims come forward and report these crimes, so there are many more instances that were simply not aware of. As a result, North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards is encouraging anyone who believes they have been victimised toget in touch with ActionFraud. Credits Published Images: Bennyartist / Shutterstock 25 November, 2014 To share this page, click on in the toolbar TS TODAY "