KEIGHLEY people are being urged to be on their guard against scams.

Advice has been issued as part of Scams Awareness Month to help people avoid becoming a victim.

The campaign is being supported by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson.

Earlier this year he was appointed a ‘SCAMbassador’ as part of a scheme run by the National Trading Standards Scams Team and partner organisations.

He works with members of the community regionally and with people on a national level to educate and support those who may be particularly vulnerable to scams.

“The reality is that anyone can become a victim,” said Mr Burns-Williamson.

“Scams damage lives and can severely affect people both financially and emotionally.

“I want to do what I can to help prevent people falling foul of scammers, so I am happy to carry out my work as a SCAMbassador.

“It is particularly important to safeguard those that are vulnerable and that’s why I also part fund the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team, which is made-up of co-located specialists from the police, adult social care and Trading Standards.

“The team investigates financial exploitation and abuse of vulnerable and older victims and has achieved a number of successful prosecutions, so far preventing over £1 million from going into the pockets of scammers!”

Linda Davis, head of the team, says some people have lost their homes or life savings to scammers.

She added: “Scams are operated by criminals with the sole purpose of identifying and exploiting people who are often vulnerable, elderly or have cognitive difficulties.

“The average West Yorkshire victim has lost £4,900 to scams but some have lost much more.

“Our team supports victims, helps them to recognise the signs of scams and prevents further money from being lost to the scammers.”

Advice includes:

* If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

* Reject cold calls offering investments or pension advice.

* If in doubt, don’t reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up.

* If you receive an unsolicited e-mail that doesn’t seem right, do not click on any links.

* Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance.

* You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize. If you’re put under pressure to respond, it’s probably a scam.

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