Most people have received unwanted mail, telephone calls or emails. Usually, these are just nuisance marketing communications, but sometimes they are out and out scams which can do some real harm.

Common scams include bogus prize draws, fictitious foreign lotteries, fake charities, phony clairvoyants and investment scams.

Scammers often appear very official and professional, and also try to instil a sense of urgency in their targets to rush them in to making a decision they would not otherwise have made. This might be done by telling them that they have won a prize but that it will expire if they don’t claim it immediately, or by telling them that they will be subject to a fine of legal action if they do not take swift action.

Trading Standards advice on avoiding scams:

  • Never give out personal details to anyone who should have them already (eg banks, doctors, government bodies)
  • If you never entered a draw or bought a ticket, you can’t have won anything
  • If in doubt, don’t reply. Hang up the telephone or shred the letter
  • If you feel that you’re being put under pressure to make a decision, just say no
  • Never send money to someone you don’t know
  • Treat any requests for payment in advance with caution
  • If you’re unsure, ask friends or family for their opinion
  • If someone asks you not to tell anyone about a ‘special deal’ it is probably a scam
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!

Trafford Trading Standards operate messaging systems for consumers (iCAN) and businesses (iBAN) who want to be made aware of the latest cons and scams; select the following links to request membership: