How to spot a scam – advice from Hertfordshire Trading Standards

Published: 15 Feb 2018

It is estimated that £3.2 billion is sent in response to scams each year, yet national statistics indicate that less than 5% of victims report scams to authorities.

Hertfordshire County Council is urging everyone to be on the lookout for scams and ensure their family, friends and neighbours are not falling prey to the tactics of scamming companies looking to con people out of their money.

Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “People often don’t realise, or don’t want to accept, that they’re being scammed, so it’s important for us to raise awareness of the tactics scammers use. We are encouraging friends and family of our most vulnerable residents to help protect them from these unscrupulous companies.

“Sadly, older people and particularly those living alone can fall prey to scammers. It is our responsibility to help vulnerable people protect themselves against these scams.”

How to report a scam:

If anyone has been scammed, thinks someone has tried to scam them, or knows of someone responding to a scam they should:

• Phone the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06. They can pass scam details on to Trading Standards.
• Phone Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit  
• Warn someone – educate a friend, neighbour or relative about the dangers of scams.

How to spot a scam:

It is likely to be a scam if:

• The call, letter, email or text has come out of the blue.
• You've never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about.
• You’ve heard of the lottery but you didn't buy a ticket - so you can't win it!
• They are asking you to send money in advance to claim your guaranteed cheque or prize eg for taxes or money laundering laws
• They are asking you to place an order from their catalogue before you can claim your cheque
• They are telling you to respond quickly so you don't get time to think about it or ask family and friends before you decide.
• They are telling you to keep it a secret.
• They seem to be offering you a huge prize for a small admin fee such as £20.
• Beware any offer where you are asked for payment in an unusual form – such as iTunes vouchers, or via Western Union.
• If it seems too good to be true - it probably is!

For more information visit