East London declares war on scams in February

Photo: flicker@xiaming

Lewisham council will be cooperating with the Office of Fair Trading throughout February as part of the nation-wide Scamnesty Month.

Residents are being encouraged to collect any potential scam mail and drop it off in the designated Scamnesty bins or boxes across the borough.

In addition, there will be an information stand at Lewisham Shopping Centre on Wednesday 16 February where residents can ask questions and receive information about common local scams.

Susan Wise, Lewisham Councillor and cabinet member for Customer Services said: “Council staff can provide invaluable information and tips on how to spot a scam, and practical advice if you think you have been scammed already and want to know what you can do about it.”

Loans scams are amongst the most complained about, with residents sending money via money transfer agencies but never receiving the promised funds.

Other common scams include genuine online applications for loans being intercepted by fraudsters, “please help me” letters, consumers being asked to send money up front for non-existent services, frauds from fortune tellers and spiritual healers and identity frauds.

Another pressing issue is fake ticket websites, which are expected to increase in number in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics.

During the whole month, local authorities across the country will be raising awareness by encouraging people to talk about the issues of scamming – a problem that costs the UK almost £ 3.5bn a year.

The Scamnesty Campaign especially hopes to raise awareness amongst older or more vulnerable residents that can easily fall victim to doorstep criminals.

Other boroughs along East London Lines have also joined the campaign. A trading standards team will be touring the borough of Tower Hamlets providing residents with information and advice on how to spot a scam.

Further information about the location of Scamnesty boxes in your borough can be found on the Lewisham, Hackney, Croydon and Tower Hamlets websites.

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