Team helps Notts victims of £800k fraud

A dedicated duo that has helped marketing scam victims swindled out of almost £800,000 will continue with their work for a further six months.

Nottinghamshire County Council has earmarked an additional £49,000 from the Government’s Better Care funding pot to fund the two Trading Standards officers.

Since their appointment in October 2016, the pair have worked with three victims who lost over £150,000 each and one who lost her £260,000 house to a telephone scam.

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Councillor Gordon Wheeler, vice- chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s communities and place committee, said: “Heartless mass marketing scammers target the vulnerable and unfortunately once a person falls for one scam they are then bombarded with mail, calls and emails enticing them into another scam.”

Nationally, mass marketing scams cause between £5 to £10 billion per year financial loss to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, with the average victim being 75 years old with a £2,800 loss.

The council predicts it will receive a further list of about 800 victims from the National Scam Team after October and the dedicated officers will aim to visit and give advice to these victims to help them avoid future scams.

Cllr Wheeler added: “It can become a viscous circle and our Trading Standards officers spend time with victims who have lost significant sums to make them aware of the signs of a scam and encourage them to ignore bogus prize draws, lotteries or special offers.”

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Fraudsters try to lure victims with false promises of large cash prizes, goods or services in exchange for up front fees via personal contact, the post, telephone or the internet. Scams cause significant harm to victims’ health, wellbeing and independence, which often means more support from social services and health professionals.

The council is also encouraging residents to become a ‘Nominated Neighbour’ for vulnerable people in their area to help tackle scammer.

The vulnerable person is given a card to hold up to their window or door which directs unannounced callers to their ‘Nominated Neighbour’ who will find out the purpose of their visit and check identification before they are allowed inside the person’s home.

For more on the ‘Nominated Neighbour’ scheme or to report a scam call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 05 06.