PEOPLE in South Tyneside are being urged to be on their guard against being the victim of a scam.
Trading standards officers in South Tyneside run a text alert service to inform residents of latest scams or rogue traders who may be operating in the borough.
As part of national Scams Awareness Month, officers have been out on the streets, giving shoppers advice on how to protect themselves from scams.
The council’s trading standards team joined the Citizens’ Advice Bureau to talk to shoppers at the Asda store in South Shields.
The team was on hand to give advice and information about how consumers can help themselves avoid falling victim to scams, as well as providing details of what to do if they have been targeted.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “Scams Awareness Month has given us an ideal opportunity to highlight the various types of scams being employed and ensure residents are well informed in how to deal with them.
“If we all spread the word among family, friends and neighbours, we can help to stop these criminals in their tracks.
“We would urge people to take note of the messages being highlighted during Scams Awareness Month.”
This year’s campaign focuses on scams online, over the phone, by mail and on the doorstep.
Residents are advised to follow 10 top tips for dealing with scams:
* If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
* Never give out bank details or send money unless you are certain the person in contact can be trusted.
* Contacted out of the blue? Be suspicious.
* Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card, ask for your PIN or come to your home.
* Make sure the website is secure. If buying online, check for the padlock or “https” next to the web address.
* If you haven’t bought a ticket, you can’t win it.
* People shouldn’t have to pay anything to get their prize.
* Pressure to make a decision straight away? Take your time and just say: “No thank you”.
* Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance.
* Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.
* Don’t suffer in silence – tell others about scams.
To register for the text alert service on your phone, text the word ‘doorstep’ to 07786 200 802.
Anyone who wants advice or to report scams to trading standards can go through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.southtyneside.info/tradingstandards