A 95-year-old woman from Eastbourne has seen hundreds of pounds recovered from scammers by trading standards officers who have begun an anti-scam campaign.
East Sussex Trading Standards said cold-callers had pressured the victim, known as Doris, into signing 12 contracts for services and products she didn’t need.
According to council staff, £568.95 was taken back from the scammers, and companies removed Doris’s personal details from their databases.
She also had a call-blocker installed on her phone line to prevent future scam calls.
The news came as Trading Standards began marking “Scams Awareness Fortnight”, a national campaign to highlight the problem (June 10 –23 2019).
Councillor Bill Bentley, who’s responsible for communities and safety at East Sussex County Council, said:
“Scams not only cause financial hardship—they also take an emotional toll on their victims.
“In the last two years, around three-quarters of people have been targeted by scammers, but only 13 per cent of fraud victims report it, and many don’t even tell friends or family.
“These scammers are callous, heartless criminals who simply don’t care about the suffering they cause to their victims, many of whom are vulnerable people in our community, and they can be very cunning.
“There’s no shame in being scammed. I hope these events will raise awareness of this issue, help protect people, and let them know what help and support is available.”
East Sussex Trading Standards reported a total of more than £1,360,000 had been lost in 147 recorded scam victims in the 2018/19 financial year.
Officers said people aged over 70 are hit hardest by the effects of scams, but those most frequently affected are people aged from their mid-40s to mid-60s, usually because they are home owners with access to financial assets.
Anyone wishing to report a scam can contact Action Fraud online, or call 0300 123 2040.
Citizens Advice is also available on 03454 040506.