Does it sound too good to be true? That email out of the blue offering a chance to win millions or the phone call about the recent changes to your account? Most of us will be targeted by someone attempting to scam us but being aware of how to spot a scam is key to being able to stop a scam.
The Irish Council of Churches is backing the Scamwise NI campaign to keep people in Northern Ireland safe from scams. The consequences of scams can be devastating: identity stolen, savings wiped out. As churches, we can help keep people safe by spreading the word and raising awareness.
A simple four–step test can help you to spot a scam if a cold caller gets in touch:
• Seems to be good to be true;
• Contacted out of the blue;
• Asked for personal details;
• Money requested.
This scam test is effective and easy to remember, and it could be how you save the distress and hassle of dealing with the consequences of a scam. Last year, the Church Leaders met with the PSNI and An Garda Síochána to learn more about how scams are targeted at people of all ages and backgrounds. The figures were shocking, but there is hope in sharing and remembering this simple four step test when faced with something which is unexpected and seems too good to be true.
President of the Irish Council of Churches, Rev Brian Anderson told of his “hope that this campaign will bring a much needed awareness to people about the reality of scams both online and over the phone.”
If you are affected by a scam contact the police who will be able to help you get the support you need to deal with the financial loss and the emotional distress that can follow.
More information is available, in Northern Ireland, at www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni and www.facebook.com/scamwiseni and, in the Republic, from local crime prevention officers and An Garda Síochána’s website:www.garda.ie/en/crime/fraud