The OFT and Trading Standards have launched a campaign to raise awareness of scams by encouraging people to drop scam mail they have received into ‘Scamnesty’ bins located at public places around the country between the 1-26th February 2010. It is also possible to report bogus web sites, telephone calls, emails or even text messages through the Consumer Direct website (www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/scamnesty). This has an online function for consumers to log/ forward scam emails and websites.
The OFT reports that nearly half of the UK adult population has been targeted by a scam, and more than three million adults – one in 15 people – fall victim to scams, losing a total of £3.5 billion every year. And according to RDO (Resort Development Organisation), which works closely with enforcers both in the UK and Spain, holiday clubs and bogus resale firms are increasingly targetting British timeshare owners, with the average loss per person at £3,000 . Typically, people respond to advertisements to sell timeshare or are cold called but are then sucked into signing up for a holiday club membership they did not want in the first place. Frequently, the timeshare remains unsold.
The Scamnesty campaign, which comes with the support of RDO, is part of the OFT’s ongoing work to build awareness of scams, increase consumer empowerment and equip people to spot a scam.
Members of public wishing to report holiday club or resale scams may also contact RDO on firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to its web site on www.rdo.org for further information and advice.
¹OFT press release 12 November 2008