Residents across West Sussex are being encouraged to continue to fight back against fraudsters as Scams Awareness Month switches its focus towards telephone hoaxes.
West Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards Service is backing the national month-long initiative and is warning people to be on their guard and look out for others who might fall victim to con artists. One West Sussex County Councillor who almost fell foul of phone scammers has spoken out this week about his experience in support of the campaign.
Graham Jones (UKIP Felpham) said: “A female alleging to be a Police Officer from Paddington Police Station phoned to inform me that they had someone in custody who had been arrested with a number of cloned bank cards in his possession, one of which was mine.
“I was urged to contact my bank immediately; the lady was insistent and extremely pushy, choosing not to empathise with my situation but rather stress that I got in touch with my bank.
“She was very brief and advised me to comply on a number of occasions.
“Although I was wary, I did call to begin the process of providing my bank details but stopped when they asked me for my security code. I felt that was odd.
“Her abruptness had hit a nerve and the penny dropped when she rang a second time demanding my details.
“After checking my balance online to ensure it was okay, I contacted Sussex Police who responded very quickly and confirmed it was a scam as someone in Barnham had reported a similar incident that morning.
“If they had acquired all of my bank details there would have been nothing I could do.”
Mr Jones is urging residents of West Sussex to be watchful of potential fraudsters in their area.
He said: “There are a lot of vulnerable people out there who may not be savvy enough and would take such a request at face value. That is my main concern.
“Some may react too quickly when they should be more guarded to such demands.
“From my experience, we should make sure phone numbers and addresses are verified thus reducing the chances of people falling into the clutches of scammers.
“I would advise caution as this can happen to anyone.”
Get advice and report scams to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or online support.
If you know someone who has sent money in response to a scam or has fallen victim to doorstep callers you can also report your concerns direct to West Sussex Trading Standards Service online.
Make sure you check the County Council’s Facebook page (West Sussex Matters) and our Twitter feed (@WSCCNews) for tips and information on how to avoid being scammed.