Fraud calls rife in Staffordshire

Almost a fifth of adults in Staffordshire have fallen victim to a telephone scam, a new survey has revealed.

According to the YouGov survey, 90 per cent of people in the county receive between five and 30 nuisance calls a week, with a computer virus scam from so called 'Microsoft Windows Support' workers asking for passwords to fix an imaginary virus on their computer.

The second most common scam in Staffordshire involves a caller pretending to be from HMRC and requesting security details for a person's bank account due to a problem with a tax bill.

Others include people being told about 'unmissable' investment opportunities, being left a message asking to call back a premium rate line and being told about winning a large lottery prize, but having to pay a processing fee to claim the cash.

The survey was commissioned by CPR Call Blocker, whose spokeswoman Bryony Hipkin said: “Scam and nuisance phone calls continue to be a major problem for consumers in Staffordshire and it’s often the most vulnerable people in society who are falling victim to telephone scams.

"Scammers have a real knack of finding people when they are at their weakest and most vulnerable and they really exploit that.

"I want to encourage people to stay in touch with elderly loved ones.

"A lot of scammers are using the tactic of getting to know that person, becoming a friend to them and then on the fourth or fifth call they start making the request."

Across Staffordshire, 17 per cent of those questioned have lost money to scams in the last 12 months.

Of those, 31 per cent lost between £1 and £50, 21 per cent lost between £100 and £500, 13 per cent lost between £500 and £10,000 and four per cent were scammed out of over £10,000.

Ms Hipkin said: “If you’re contacted out of the blue, be suspicious and never respond to an unsolicited call.

"Don’t assume a caller is genuine because they have information about you such as your account details.

"Never give out personal information when answering an incoming call and if you’re not convinced the call is genuine, hang up and call back using the official phone number of the organisation calling from their website or any paperwork you have such as statements.”

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