A day of action took place across 1066 Country and the rest of Sussex on Monday to support people who have fallen victim to scams.
Trading Standards teams in East and West Sussex teamed up with the National Trading Standards Scams Team to run Operation ‘Bah Scambug’ on Monday December 15.
Officers in both counties will be making personal visits to confirmed scam victims to offer support and advice to help to stop them handing over money for bogus lotteries, prize draws or clairvoyant scams in the future.
Patricia, a 61-year-old living alone in a rented flat in Hastings, had been sending increasing amounts of money to companies in Australia believing she would be entered into a lottery with the chance to win substantial amounts of money. She was adamant that the lotteries were genuine but after providing copies of all the letters she received agreed to a visit from a Trading Standards officer and began to understand she had been the victim of a scam.
Officers were able to assist Patricia in contacting the companies concerned to ask them to stop contacting her and having her name added to the Mail Preference Service and Post Office mailing list to reduce the amount of unsolicited mail. They also supported her in contacting her bank to try and stop potential future payments to these companies and arranged for clear warning markers to be displayed on the communal entrance to her property warning cold callers to stay away.
Councillor Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “The perpetrators of scams are unscrupulous individuals who prey on older and vulnerable residents, who in many cases don’t realise they’ve been tricked.
“We are delighted that we now have the mechanism to identify these silent victims to prevent them falling prey to scammers in the future.”
Anyone concerned about a possible scam is asked to contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506.