Every year millions of people across the UK fall prey to scammers, and West Sussex residents are no exception.
July is Scams Awareness Month, a national campaign set up to raise awareness and help reduce the impact of scams through the provision of advice and support.
An estimated 3.6 million scams and fraud cases have occurred this year so far, a rise of 8%.
The total sum of money lost to scams and fraud each year is estimated to be £10.9 billion on average.
This year's theme, 'Play your part, act on scams', urges us all to recognise, report and talk about the issues.
Throughout the month we will focus on four susceptible groups in particular:
- Young people (18-24) - more than half of young people are unlikely to report scams according to Citizens Advice.
- 'Life established' (aged from 40-60) - historically targeted by scams relating to pensions, dating and property.
- Over 70s - commonly targeted by phone and mail scams with more repeat victims than any other age group.
- The socially isolated - don't have the same access to support and advice, meaning victims' welfare is of particular concern.
Scams Awareness Month asks us all to trust our gut instinct when receiving an unexpected or suspicious communication and be sure to obtain advice before taking any action following a potential scam attempt.
Anyone concerned about scams can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
You can learn more about scams and report fraud and cybercrime here.
Report an incident or concern direct to West Sussex Trading Standards Service online here.
Download this year's promotional resources and lend your support to Scams Awareness Month 2017.