Awareness raised over Operation Carpus project

Operation Carpus, a joint initiative between trading standards, social work and Police Scotland in Angus, is supporting and providing assistance to people at risk of financial harm through scams.

The trading standards National Scams Hub, a project funding by the National Trading Standards Board, have information indicating that there are a number of people in the Angus area who may have positively responded to scam mail shots or scam phone calls.

Each year mass marketing scams cause approximately £3.5 billion worth of detriment to UK consumers. Scams are often targeted at more vulnerable people. It is known that individuals and networks behind these scams have close links to organised international crime and that the proceeds from financial scams are used to help fund drug dealing, people trafficking and international terrorism.

To keep people safe from the risk of financial harm in Angus, Community Police Officers as part of this operation are visiting those identified as potentially having been targeted by scams of these types. Officers are providing advice and assistance to prevent these individuals from becoming the victims of further scams and instigating measures in conjunction with trading standards and the social work department to protect them and keep them safe.

It is recognised that potentially there are others beyond those identified in this operation who may be affected by scams and Trading Standards and Police Scotland and Angus Council are committed to working directly with anyone affected by a financial scam and are happy to provide assistance with these matters.

Councillor Donald Morrison, convenor of communities department said: ““The work of our staff in Trading Standards, in partnership with staff in our joint NHS/Social Work adult care teams and Police Scotland on this issue of financial scams is both ground breaking and invaluable. It is an approach I know Angus Council is proud of and I would encourage any victims to take advantage of the support that is available.”

Financial Scams come in a variety of forms, letters, e-mails and phone calls and can look and sound very official. They use different ways to trick people into sending money or disclosing bank details.

Examples include:-

Making promises of a cash prize

Offering exciting investments

Pretend someone is in trouble and ask you to send money

Pretend to be clairvoyants

Pretend to be from your bank and ask for your bank details

Sell items of little monetary value at inflated price or offer prizes for bulk buying.

People can avoid becoming the victim of scams by:-

Thinking “If it sounds too good to be true”, it probably is too good to be true. Put it in the bin.

Never give money to someone you do not know well.

Never give your bank details to un-trusted persons.

Never send money upfront to get a prize that you have been told you have won.

If you get a call, tell them you’re not interested, not to phone back and hang up. Block the number if you have a call blocker.

Chief Inspector Gordon Milne said: ““If you have lost money to scams or are worried that a family member may have been a victim don’t be afraid to ask for help. Scammers are very clever and anyone can be tricked by them. It is important that you don’t send any more money. Take any letters you have received to your local ACCESS Office or Citizens Advice Bureau. You can also phone Angus Council Trading Standards on 01241 435600, the Angus Council ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778 or the Police on 101 for help.””

For further information and advice about postal scams and criminal phone calls you can visit, call Citizens Advice consumer services on 08454 04 05 06 or visit your local citizens advice bureau. Older people can also call The Silver live on 0800 4 70 80 90 for information and advice which is free, confidential and open 24 hours.