Mike: You can't bluff someone who's not paying attention.
We've had a few emails recently from readers who want to share experiences about how they've been conned on their doorsteps. None of them involve elaborate narrative constructs, hot women or Keyser Söze. They mainly involve being flogged sub-par dishcloths at slightly inflated prices. As a result, we haven't got around to creating a thread about them.
Now though, courtesy of Cllr Foxcroft, we're alerted to the fact that February is Scam Awareness Month in Lewisham, which means that the time is right to create this thread - feel free to share your experiences. Here's the Council's release:
Lewisham Council is supporting Scam Awareness Month – a national initiative organised by the Office of Fair Trading - during February.
The three themes of Scam Awareness Month are; ‘Scamnesty’, holiday clubs and ticket scams. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about the many different types of scams around, so that people don’t get duped.
Lewisham Council will have an information stand in the Lewisham Shopping Centre on Wednesday 16 February, between 10.00am and 2.30pm, in the main eatery area.
Shoppers can get information and advice from the Council’s Trading Standards team. There will also be a ‘scamnesty’ bin at the stand so that people can drop off scam mailings they have received, to help staff gather information about scams operating in the area.
Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: “Lewisham Council staff can provide invaluable information and tips on how to spot a scam, and advice if you think you have been scammed already and want to know what you can do about it.”
Here are some of the types of complaints received by Lewisham Council from Lewisham residents in the past few months:
Loans: Genuine online applications for loans are being intercepted by fraudsters.
Postal scams: ‘please help me’ letters, prize draws: Consumers are being asked to send money up front for non-existent services, lottery wins or to help someone in need.
Fortune tellers and spiritual healers: Claiming to have over 40 years experience and able to heal the sick, cure skin disorders and childlessness.
Identity Fraud: A number of schools’ staff have reported receiving letters either from or on behalf of MCO Capital Ltd asking for repayment of a loan they haven’t taken out. This is a major nationwide identity fraud that is under investigation by the City of London Police. More than 4,000 victims have been identified so far.
Rogue traders: Consumers are being duped into paying large sums upfront to have building work done such as new roofs, tiling and walls, only to find the work was never really needed or was badly done and consumers were overcharged.