Wirral people are being warned to be on the lookout for any website, letter, doorstep seller or phone call with a proposal that sounds too good to be true – because it might very well be a scam.
The borough's Citizen's Advice Bureau says scams come in many shapes and sizes, including dodgy online adverts and tricksters using dating websites to build relationships with people they later defraud.
Other common types including "phishing" emails and "vishing" phone calls designed to con people into giving away sensitive information, investment scams, and advanced fees requested to claim unexpected lottery wins.
With only a few people ever reporting scams to the authorities, Wirral CAB and Wirral Council’s trading standards team have teamed up to fight back against scammers to ensure they don’t get away with conning innocent people.
People are being urged to report dodgy adverts or sales pitches to the authorities and speak to a friend or relative first about any out of the blue offers they get on the doorstep, by phone or email.
Damon Taylor, chief executive of Wirral Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “Scammers must not be allowed to get away with conning people out of their hard-earned money.
"We want to see a fight back against scams. Often they target the elderly with sophisticated scams such as posing as their bank or phone company.
"It’s vitally important that people know what to look out for and how to respond.
"Anyone unsure about someone asking for their financial details should check with someone they trust and report anything that sounds dodgy to their local Citizens Advice Bureau or trading standards department.”
The push is part of the national campaign Scams Awareness Month.
Throughout May, the campaign will highlight how people can be caught out. The focus is on online scams, postal cheats, phone cons and doorstep rip-offs.
What to do if you have been scammed:
• Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to help stop it happening to others.
• Often you can't always get your money back if you've been scammed, especially if you've handed over cash.
• If you've paid for goods or services by credit card you have more protection and if you used a debit card you may be able to ask your bank for a chargeback.
• Get advice and report it to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 - or get online advice here