Citizens Advice in Dorset has continued to provide free help and support to Dorset residents throughout the pandemic. With offices located in Bridport, Central Dorset, East Dorset and Purbeck , volunteers quickly adapted to no longer offering face to face appointments, to providing phone and digital advice.
Since the start of lockdown on 23rd March 2020 until the end of January 2021, Citizens Advice across rural Dorset helped over 11,000 people with over 41,000 issues. The type of issues include providing employment, benefits and debt advice, energy and fuel poverty advice, housing, legal, family and relationship advice and much more.
Be Scam Aware!
Since the pandemic started, Citizens Advice Dorset has become aware of new type of scams. With people spending more time at home, scammers have the perfect opportunity to target people in new ways. Here are two examples of scams to look out for and what to do if you feel you’ve been scammed.
Online shopping scams
With only essential shops open, online shopping is on the rise. If shopping online make sure you stay safe and avoid scams. Before purchasing, make sure to do background research into the company and only pay using a credit or debit card or a third party application such as PayPal. Paying using these methods gives you extra protection if something goes wrong, but be careful when putting in your payment details online on any website. Don’t submit if you’re unsure.
As the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine continues, Action Fraud are seeing reports of coronavirus vaccine scams. The coronavirus vaccine will only be available via the NHS and is free of charge. They’ve shared things to remember if you’ve received a text claiming to be from the NHS:
- The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details
- The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password
- The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
- The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence or pay slips
Find out more information on coronavirus vaccine scams here.
What to do if you think it’s a scam
If you think something is a scam you should hang up the phone, close the website, or shut the front door. Never feel pressured to make a decision straight away, and don’t give out personal details or money unless you’re certain that you can trust the person. If you’ve been scammed or think you’ve been scammed, our Scams Action service is here to help. More information about scams and how to report them can be found here.
Citizens Advice Dorset provides free, confidential and impartial advice to help people find a way forward, whatever problems they face. Call the Dorset Adviceline on 0800 144 8848 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk for more information.