We are hearing of more and more scams in our area, stay safe with our tips.

Be Wise • Government and financial institutions will never ask for information by email.

• Don’t give information yourself, instead confirm what the cold caller already has. Beware - Scammers have a surprising amount of accurate data.

• Never give complete passwords or full account information but instead confirm certain letters or the last few digits.

• If someone phones you, take their details and phone them back later that day from a different phone. Scammers often keep the call connected so phoning back immediately from the same phone is like being put on hold and doesn’t create a new call.

• Request written information before making a decision, but beware of giving your address if they don’t already have it.

• Don’t give anyone ‘remote’ access to your computer over the phone.

Signs of a scam • The call, letter, e-mail or text has come out of the blue.

• You are asked to send money in advance.

• You are under pressure to respond quickly, no time to think about it or get advice.

• You’re offered something for nothing and it seems too good to be true.

• Scare tactics are used, for example claiming your computer has been hacked or identity stolen.

What to do if you have been scammed • Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to help stop it happening to others.

• If you’ve used your credit or debit card ask your bank for a chargeback.

• Get advice and report it to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or online advice at www.adviceguide.org.uk Free, confidential advice and help is available from Cumbria Rural Citizens Advice Bureau on any aspect of consumer problems, benefits, debt, housing, employment and any other problems. We have various outlets across South Lakeland and can also give advice over the phone - telephone 015394 46464 for an appointment and help.