As more and more people fall victim to scams, North Yorkshire Police and the Trading Standards Institute have issued renewed warnings.
Over the phone, by email, post, or text, there are many ways scammers target people to gain access to their money.
And, according to the police, scams are often difficult to investigate. They can be complicated and often involve many people, and can take a lot of resources to investigate with courts often finding it difficult to convict suspects because of the grey area that exists between dishonesty and sharp practice.
However, there are some standard practices that can be followed to avoid being scammed or spot any potential fraud.
Lead officer for crime and disorder at the Trading Standards Institute Brian Smith said: “Anyone can be misled by the right scam, so be alert and aware. Some people lie when they call you.
“Never give out personal details, especially financial or agree to anything as the result of an unsolicited call.
“Always give yourself time to think, any reasonable caller should be prepared to wait. Ask for information to be sent through by mail - at least you may gain an address you could check out.”
Mr Smith added that people should be cautious of international or withheld numbers, and importantly, where older or vulnerable relatives are concerned, consider buying call blocking technology.
Mr Smith added: “Studies have shown that people spending most of their time at home receive a disproportionate number of unwanted (and potentially scam) phone calls.”
Advice from North Yorkshire Police says the telephone preference service can stop unsolicited telephone calls, and registration for this can be made by phone 0845 070 0707.
For more police advice and information on scams you can go a specific website page at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/scams.
If you are a victim of fraudulent activity this can be reported to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or telephone: 0300 123 2040.