Scam Warnings

Neighbourhood Watch

Here are some top tips for spotting a scam:
1. Remember the old adage ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’.
2. Always be wary of any scheme that asks for money upfront. This is most likely a form of ‘advance-fee’ fraud.
3. Alarm bells should ring if you’re pressurised into making a decision quickly. Giving the impression that consumers have to move fast to secure that ‘special offer’ or ‘investment opportunity’ is a classic scam tactic.
4. Look out for bad grammar and spelling in unsolicited correspondence – letters, emails or texts – as this is often an indication that they have originated from abroad. (From Moneywise.com)

Scam Phone Calls

1. Back in September 2013, West Berkshire Police warned residents to be on their guard over a bank card courier scam and there are still incidents being reported. This scam often targets the elderly and vulnerable and takes the following steps:

a. the victim receives an unsolicited telephone call from fraudsters saying they are from their bank or claiming to be the police. They state that their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on their card, or their card has been cloned or they have arrested people who have taken money from their account.
b. they ask the victim to ring their bank using the number on the back of the card. However the fraudsters keep the telephone line open so any calls made go directly back to them.
c. the fraudsters then ask the victim to provide full bank details or state that they need to collect money from the caller and will send a courier around to collect money or their card
d. the latest incidents occurred in Oddfellows Road, Newbury, Northfield Drive, Newbury and Rosedale Gardens, Newbury, between the 18th and 19th May.

Please pass this information on to elderly or vulnerable family members, friends or neighbours.

Remember:

Your bank will never attend your home or ask for your PIN number
Your bank and/or the police will never collect your bank card
Your bank and/or police will never ask you to withdraw money and hand it over
If you receive a call end it immediately and report the incident to the police by calling the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101.

2. Phone callers are claiming to be from British Gas, calling for an array of reasons such as paying your overdue bill, arranging a maintenance visit, etc. and from more than one number. If you receive a call saying they are from British Gas, you can go into the website: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-advice/contactus-personal-details/did-we-call-you.html type in the number and British Gas will advise if it is one of their numbers. Under no circumstances should you give your bank details out unless you are absolutely certain of a caller’s identity!

3. 070 and 076 numbers are being used in a scam designed to make people think they have received a missed call from a mobile phone. When victims call the number back, they are actually dialing a service costing up to £1.50 a minute. These numbers are used because they look like ‘07’ mobile phone numbers but can cost considerably more to call. If you receive a missed call from a number beginning 070 or 076 that you do not recognise, do not call it back. Instead, make a note of the number and complain to the premium rate regulator, PhonepayPlus (Tel: 0800 500 212).

4. A person has been calling saying that he is Keith Daniels and that he works for Thames Valley Police, claiming to belong to the Thames Valley Police Magazine and he is trying to sell advertising space. There is nobody of this name in TVP and it is a con to persuade you to pay out for advertising.

Emails

Check your passwords on your emails and accounts to make sure that they cannot be easily hacked into. It is best to use a combination of letters, including capitals and numbers.

Be careful about clicking links in emails. Fraudulent emails claiming to be from companies like Vodafone, Tesco, BT and Amazon have been asking people for account details or to follow a link. Other emails may appear to be from someone in your contacts.

Letters

Beware of fraudulent letters claiming you have won a big cash prize in the “International FIFA World Cup Online Lottery”. The letters are being sent out by scammers posing as affiliates of international football associations in an attempt to get hold of your personal details. Suffolk Trading Standards has urged individuals to remember that none of the official lotteries from other countries contact people to tell them of their win. “Always remember if you haven’t entered a lottery, then you can’t have won it”.

Door to door Scams

There have been reports of people going door to door, claiming to represent well-known charities. All persons working for charities should have identification with them which should be on display and produced upon request. Please be vigilant and report any suspicious people acting as representatives from a charity and certainly do not offer or sign up to any donations unless you are comfortable that they are genuine.

Moneywise have advised that several readers contacted them about ‘Sad News’ scams. These ‘phishing‘ scams involve a fraudster hacking into an email account and sending out emails to people in the address book.  These emails ask the recipient for money to be transferred via Western Union to help a friend who is stranded abroad, and they can seem very genuine.  “There has definitely been an increase in these kind of emails and the hackers are playing a percentage game,” says Stephen Proffitt, spokesperson for Action Fraud.

How to avoid being scammed

If you receive one of these emails do not open any attachments, never give out bank details or password information and do not send a reply.  There will quite often be grammar and spelling mistakes within the email and it may use especially emotive language to try to tempt you into parting with your cash. Make your own enquiries first and contact the person by phone before taking any action.  If your email account has been hacked into first contact your provider and check your security settings are up to date and then contact Action Fraud to report the hacking at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. 

If you are interested in more scam warnings please contact Angela Money at Newbury Neighbourhood Watch on ajmy5m7@inbox.com or visit the Newbury South West Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) website

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