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'Take 5' - be vigilant of scammers

'Take 5' - be vigilant of scammers

Saturday 10 August 2019

'Take 5' - be vigilant of scammers


Guernsey people have faced a number of scams over the last few weeks, and as it is scams awareness month, a team of the Economic Crime Division and Trading Standards are looking to raise awareness.

They say the best way to stop yourself being vulnerable to a scammer is to make sure you are educated - but even then, they say you have to be vigilant, because there is a scam out there that could trick anyone, no matter how aware.

The team will be at the North and West shows to give advice and have the latest version of the Little Book of Big Scams available for people to take away with them.

"Scamming isn't isolated to one or two people trying their luck to defraud people, it is now an industry which means there are more people trying in more ways than ever before to take your money," Agnes Miller, Trainee Trading Standards Officer, said.

"While that may sound unnerving, it also means that as it is now part of everyday life you should be more aware of the tactics and methods these people will use. This month allows us to remind people of the best methods of defending themselves from scammers so that you and your loved ones aren't the next victims, ensuring that your money stays exactly where it should - in your bank account." 

Guernsey Police Station

Guernsey Police should be people's primary point of contact if they have been scammed. 

Just recently, an islander was the victim of Romance Fraud and before that an elderly woman fell victim to a Facebook scam. 

Daniel Guerin, Trading Standards Officer, said scams come in all sorts of forms, but their way of tackling the issue is to try to disrupt and slow down scammers until it becomes not worth their while.

He gave an example of a woman last year in Guernsey who sent a small amount of money in an envelope replying to a scam letter - after that, she started receiving more and more letters. If she had replied all of them, Mr Guerin said, she could have lost over a £1,000 in small increments. 

Trading Standards works in a joint working group with the Economic Crime Division called the scams working group. Paul Winberg, Economic Crime Division Supervisor, said: "Guernsey residents continue to be the targets for all types of scams and attempted frauds - from cheque overpayment fraud, romance fraud, Government Agency type Scams such as HMRC, TV Licensing etc and cyber enabled crimes such as phishing and mandate fraud, which in some cases result in significant losses being incurred by islanders.

"Fraudsters are becoming increasingly professional and sophisticated in their methodology, which is why Bailiwick Law Enforcement in partnership with Trading Standards are proactively promoting awareness of such scams through education and advice and by working with the community to try and reduce the number of future victims." 

town Guernsey st Peter port boat harbour boats

When a scammer is in Guernsey, BEL can deal with them, but when they are not, Trading Standards can refer intelligence on to their UK counterparts. 

Mr Winberg added that while scams come in many shapes and sizes, and it is difficult to give catch all advice, people should always 'take five', and think about what they are doing.

Whether that be before opening an email, clicking a link, or giving a way details, he urged people to think about it. He also said you could always hang up and call the company the scammers might be claiming to be on a number from somewhere else. 

If you think you have been scammed, contact Guernsey Police, even if you are embarrassed about the circumstances. Anyone can be scammed, Mr Guerin emphasised. 

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