I sometimes worry that people get tired of receiving the same warning again and again and they think “nobody could be that stupid”. The recent announcement, carried by national news media, that the incidence of telephone scams has tripled in the past year suggests that “oh yes they can”! At risk of being a bore I will repeat some of the old chestnuts and a few of the newer ones:
• The Microsoft/Windows technical department scam. This is one of the oldest ones, the caller, (from the Indian sub-continent by the sound of it), claims that they have detected a problem with your computer. They then try to get you to give them access to your computer in order, not to fix the problem, but to obtain personal and financial information. The only course is to hang up, as politely or rudely as you wish! My wife’s approach is to say that we don’t have a computer!
• The Bank problem scam. This was the subject of the recent national news coverage although it has been around for some time. If you didn’t see the news, it goes like this: The caller claims to be from the bank saying that there is a problem with your account. They ask you to call the bank security number but they don’t hang up, leaving them connected to your line so that when you call you go back to the scammer who purports to be the bank security department. They then ask for your PIN and send a bogus courier round to collect your bank card(s). People have been swindled out of tens of thousands of pounds! Remember, Banks never ask for this sort of information over the phone! If you want to check with your bank use a different telephone or leave it until the scammer gets tired of waiting and hangs up (you should then get your usual dialling tone again).
• Bogus ‘Police Officer’ call. This works in a similar way except that the caller claims to be a police officer. In some cases, to reassure and make the calls appear genuine, names of officers, rank numbers and police station addresses have been falsely quoted. The bogus caller will raise concerns over your credit card and financial issues and will request bank and other personal information to ‘aid the security of the call’. This is a criminal scam and is being investigated by the police who advise anyone receiving such a call to refrain from giving any information. If you have received a call of this nature and would like assistance or to report it for intelligence purposes please call the Police on 101.
• Southern Water. A Monxton resident recently received a call from someone claiming to work for Southern Water who said they were following up a complaint. The resident became suspicious and hung up. On calling SW they were told that this scam was going the rounds coupled with doorstep calls, the objective being to gain access to your property. Considering how twitchy most people in Monxton are about water related problems this is one to beware of.
Hitting the Cold Spots
For the fourth year Hampshire County Council with its partners, are running the Hitting the Cold Spots campaign, which can help and advise you on ways to keep warm and healthy. Their advice line and advisors are ready to help you keep warm at home and reduce your energy bills.
Call on 0800 804 8601 or firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.hants.gov.uk/cold-spots.
Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Christmas!