FARMERS and the wider public in Pembrokeshire are being urged to remain vigilant as credit card scams have been circulating in the county. The warning comes as the Farmers’ Union of Wales county office has received numerous phone calls from members raising the alarm.

According to Citizens Advice, scammers have been exploiting the pressures that the Covid-19 pandemic is putting people under and have noticed a significant increase in the number of scams relating to financial services in the last 12 months. These can include fake “Get Rich Quick” investment schemes or someone pretending to be from the individual’s bank, asking them to transfer money or personal details.

FUW Pembrokeshire County Chairman Mike Kurtz said: “Our county office has received numerous phone calls about members having potentially fallen foul of a credit card scam in recent months. People of all ages and backgrounds get scammed and it’s important to be on your guard.”

Estimates from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) showed that there were 4.4 million fraud offences in the last 12 months.

Citizens Advice further found in June 2020 that in the first three months of the first lockdown over a third of British adults (36%) had been the target of a scam.

It is important to remember that everyone can be vulnerable to scams, added Mr Kutz. 

“The people who carry them out are convincing, it is what they do for a day job. But there is assistance out there from Citizens Advice, Trading Standards and the police. 

“If you think someone might be trying to scam you, it’s important to act straight away. Please remember that it is important to report scams, no matter how small, so that they can be fully investigated and to ensure that support is given to the individuals concerned,” he said.

Citizens Advice recommend the following to protect yourself from scams:   

  • Don’t be rushed into making any quick decisions. It’s okay to take your time
  • Never give money or personal details, like passwords or bank details, to anyone you don’t know, trust or have only met online. If someone pressures you for these, it’s most likely a scam
  • Before you buy anything, check the company or website you’re using. Read reviews from different websites, search for the company’s details on Companies House, and take a look at their terms and conditions
  • Pay by debit or credit card. This gives you extra protection if things go wrong
  • Be suspicious. Scammers can be very smart. They can appear like a trusted business or government official, have a professional website and say all the right things. Take your time to work out if this is a real organisation. Ask them for ID or contact the organisation on a number you know and trust
  • Make sure your antivirus software is up to date
  • Keep your online accounts secure. Use a strong password for email accounts that you don’t use anywhere else. Choosing three random words is a good way to create a strong and easy to remember password. You can also add in numbers and symbols.
  • If you’re not sure about something, get advice from a trusted source

Members who are worried about scams are being urged to contact either Trading Standards, Citizens Advice, the police or their local FUW office.