A councillor has fired a warning to residents and raised awareness about how they can protect themselves from fraudsters this winter.

North Manor Conservative Party representative Liam James Dean has spoken out about the problem in dealing with suspicious text messages, calls and emails.

Fraudsters are trying to take advantage of people amid the financial uncertainty the country is facing amid the cost of living crisis. 

Cllr Dean said: “More and more often I'm now getting spam texts or calls - often trying to capitalise on the government's generous cost of living support packages - and I know other residents have told me they've received them too.

“Unfortunately, many people don’t know what they can do to help stop these scam artists and it’s why it’s important people are aware how to report them to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).”

The NCSC is a UK government agency that has the power to investigate and take down scam email addresses and websites.

As of September this year, the NCSC has received more than 14m reported scams which has resulted in excess of 100,000 scams being removed over 184,000 URLs.

Residents should report all emails, texts, websites, adverts or phone calls that they think are trying to scam them to the NCSC using the methods outlined here.

Cllr Dean added: “It’s really simple things people should be aware of, like reporting texts to 7726 (NCSC advice). You can easily forward a text to this number which could potentially stop someone else being scammed.

“The 7726 service has removed 15,000 scams already so everyone should use it to help remove more.”

It used to be easier to spot scams as many would contain bad grammar and spelling mistakes or come from an unusual email address.

But online criminals are getting smarter and some even fool the experts and so the government have boosted funding to ensure elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people will get better support to stay safe online and avoid being misled by disinformation.

More than £1m has been granted to 17 UK organisations to pilot new ways of boosting media literacy skills for people at risk of experiencing online abuse and being deceived into believing false information, such as vaccine disinformation, deepfake videos or propaganda created by hostile state.

Bury North MP James Daly has welcomed the funding boost.

He said: “It’s good to see Media Literacy Taskforce Fund created and I’m pleased to see the scheme for care workers and leavers will be running in Greater Manchester using this fund.

“It is imperative we do all we can to keep ourselves safe online, whether it be by reporting potential scams to the NCSC or learning about the new technology such as deepfakes – which can be extremely convincing if you’re not looking for them.

“I encourage everyone to help me, and local councillors spread the news of how to report potential scams – reporting a potential scammer could save someone else their life savings.”