Western Isles Citizens Advice Service is setting out today (Monday July 3) on a big effort to make local people aware of the dangers of scams, and how to beat them.

The campaign is the local wing of Scams Awareness Month, being run across the UK by the Citizens Advice service and Trading Standards. It is aimed at everyone and covers all types of scams.

As part of the campaign, the local CAB will be running information and messages on social media.

A spokesman for WICAS, says: “This is one of the most important campaigns we run every year. Scams are very common, and can affect absolutely anyone. And they can cost people hundreds or even thousands of pounds. It’s heart-breaking for our advisers to see local people conned out of their money – especially when scams can so often be avoided.

“Our message to those in the Western Isles throughout this month is that you need to be vigilant and watch out for scams, and there are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. But we also want people to know that help is available, and that if you are a victim of a scam you should report it so we can try and stop it hurting others.

“Though scams can affect anyone, we will be focusing each week on particular groups who might be vulnerable to certain types of scam. This week for example we want to warn people who are ‘life-established,’ meaning they are in work and financially secure. Such people might feel they are not vulnerable to scams, but in fact we often see people at the CAB who have been targeted precisely because they are in that situation – for example by scams offering pensions or investments. Dating websites are also rife with scammers these days.

“So our message to people in this group is to be particularly aware of such scams.  Our general advice is to always be vigilant, take your time before making any decisions to part with your cash, and if something sounds too good to be true it probably is!”

The CABx offices in the Western Isles can be contacted by telephone at the following numbers:

Barra CAB – 01871 - 810608

Uist CAB – 01870 - 602421

Harris CAB – 01859 - 502431

Lewis CAB – 01851 - 705727