Posted on Monday 28th February 2022
Businesses and residents in Staffordshire are being warned to be vigilant against financial related scams in the run up to the end of the financial year on 31st March.
Popular financial related scams being highlighted by Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Department include:
- scam emails, texts or automated calls pretending to be from a government agency like HMRC or an official company
- VAT refund and invoice email scams targeting businesses
- an offer of a pensions review out of the blue
- phone calls, texts or emails pretending to be from your bank, asking you to move your money or to provide your personal details
- adverts offering fake “Get Rich Quick” schemes
Many scams will appear genuine but are designed to either obtain personal information or take people’s money.
Links people are asked to click on will take them to fraudulent or spoof websites and anyone entering their details are at great risk of losing money.
Officers are also warning local businesses about scams relating to the financial year end, including invoice scams, VAT and tax refund scams.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said:
“Over the last few weeks we have seen a rise in scammers targeting people with finance-related schemes.
“We do get a lot of these types of scams around at this time of the year targeting both individuals and companies.
"We appreciate that many scams can appear genuine but If people are in any doubt at all they should ignore the offer, delete the email or hang up the phone if it’s a telephone call.
"As always, people should be wary about any unsolicited approaches.”
When making financial decisions, there are some things people can do to minimise the risk of being scammed.
- don’t give any money or bank details to anyone you don’t know or have only met online. Be wary of unexpected contact
- be cautious of investment opportunities, particularly if they seem too good to be true. Seek professional advice before making any decisions
- research whoever you’re dealing with. Almost all financial services firms must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If they’re not, it’s probably a scam
- be extra careful if the contact is overseas. If you can’t check the firm is authorised by a regulator in that country, don’t transfer any money
People should report scams to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 or contact Action Fraud here.