Consumer bosses are urging people to trust their gut instinct during National Scams Awareness Month.
The borough’s Trading Standards team joined forces with the Citizens’ Advice and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute to promote the campaign, which runs throughout July.
The first week of the campaign will focus on telephone scams, while online, mail and doorsteps cons will also be highlighted.
Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Telephone and postal scams lead to UK consumers losing an astonishing £5billion every year.
“Scams are run by professional fraudsters whose only aim is to go after your cash. The money they receive can go towards drug and gun crime, terrorism and even human trafficking.
“We want people to get advice, report scams and tell others about their experiences to make them aware. Our advice is that if an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.”
South Tyneside Council is issuing tips to help avoid people being scammed.
They are, if you haven’t bought a ticket, you can’t win it, you shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize, be suspicious if you’ve been contacted out of the blue, never send money to someone you have never met or don’t trust, your bank will never phone you to ask for your PIN number or password, and that computer firms do not make calls to help you fix your computer.
South Tyneside residents have been targeted by a number of scams in the past.
In December last year, South Tyneside Council received reports of fraudulent text messages perpetrating to be from GOV.UK, indicating that residents were due a Council Tax refund.
In order to process the refund, the message recipients were asked to follow a link in the message which took them to a website which has the same look and feel as the GOV.UK website, and asks for bank details.
The messages and website were fraudulent, and users who entered their details were at risk of losing money
Also last year, Northumbria Police was investigating a telephone scam in which fraudsters were claiming to be police officers.
The scammers were telling people their bank account was at risk of being hacked and that they should withdraw all their money and call the officers back so they could come to collect it to keep it safe.
To cut down on unwanted mail or phone calls, register for free with the Mailing Preference Service at www.mpsonline.org.uk and the Telephone Preference Service at www.tpsonline.org.uk
For further advice, or to report a scam, phone 03454040506 or email firstname.lastname@example.org