CITIZENS Advice Taunton is urging victims to report scam attempts after it emerged 62 per cent of people in the South West had been approached by would-be fraudsters in the past two years.

But of those, only 52 per cent spoke to anyone about it.

Under the slogan 'Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware' Citizens Advice Taunton and trading standards are encouraging people to talk about their experiences and look out for others, particularly more vulnerable people.

More than half of all scams reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service in the last year used well-established, offline methods such as unsolicited doorstep selling, mail and cold calling.

Victims, who were overwhelmingly older, more vulnerable people, lost an average of almost £3,000.

Citizens Advice Taunton chief officer Jon Shoesmith said: "'Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware’ is our message to people in the Taunton area.

"We’re finding that although many people have come into contact with scammers, very few people are speaking up about this issue.

"People can sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed reporting their experiences, but sadly this means perpetrators are getting away scot-free.

"In reality, all of us can have the bad luck of being targeted with a scam.

"We hope this Scams Awareness campaign will encourage people to share their stories and learn tips to stop scammers from running off with people’s money."

If you’re worried someone you know has been scammed, check if they are:

●Receiving more mail than usual;

●Receiving unsolicited calls or spending more time on the phone;

●Struggling with money or have withdrawn large amounts of cash recently.

If you think someone you know is being scammed, take the following steps:

●If you’re worried about phone scams consider installing a call blocker;

●Encourage them to tell their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards;

●Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or call 03454-040506. They will give you advice on what to do next and report the scam to trading standards;

●Call Action Fraud on 0300-1232040;

●If they’re struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, encourage them to visit Citizens Advice.

You can also take the following steps to safeguard yourself and others:

●Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even by a name you recognise;

●If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is;

●Never send money to someone you’ve never met;

●Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you;

●Don’t be rushed – if you feel pressured say 'no';

●Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call;

●Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams.