Residents are being called on to take action against scams throughout July during Scams Awareness Month.
An estimated 3.6 million scams and fraud cases have occurred across the UK this year – and West Sussex is no exception.
More than 800 cases of actual and attempted scams have been reported to West Sussex Trading Standards since 1 July 2016.
This came at a cost of £383,000 to residents.
In that period, an additional 125 doorstep incidents saw residents scammed out of a further £85,000.
Supporting the national campaign, Trading Standards is providing advice on scam awareness to encourage residents to recognise, report and talk about the issues.
Residents from all age groups are invited to learn how to spot the signs of scams at a number of countywide events.
Trading Standards will be providing information on scams and tips to minimise the risk of losing money to fraudsters at local events:
• Wednesday 5 July - Tesco, Bognor Regis, Shripney Road, PO22 9ND (10am-1pm)
• Tuesday 11 July – Sainsbury’s, Rustington Retail Park, New Road, BN16 3RT (10am-1pm)
• Saturday 22 July – Worthing Fire Station Open Day, Ardsheal Road, BN14 7RN (Time TBC)
A special focus will be given to four groups identified as susceptible to scams.
They are young people (18-24), adults aged 40-60, over 70s and the socially isolated.
Week two of the campaign will focus on under 25s who are being increasingly targeted by scams, yet found less likely to report them.
Tech-savvy young people are at particular risk of online and identity fraud in their complacency using the internet, leading to their growing vulnerability.
West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, Debbie Kennard, said: “It is vital that we as a county take it upon ourselves to be vigilant of scam activity and act at the earliest opportunity.
“Too many residents have fallen victims to scammers in the last year alone, we must do more to educate ourselves and look out for vulnerable family and friends.
“I urge all residents who suspect they may have been targeted to drop-in to one of our community events and put their questions to the team.”
Anyone concerned about scams can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.
To learn more about scams and to report fraud visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.
To report an incident or concern direct to West Sussex Trading Standards visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport