Combat Fraud and Scams

Following on from the Scams information and prevention talk held on 18th January 2016, here are the key points to remember in keeping yourself safe:

Phone

  • Don’t accept offers over the phone
  • Don’t give out personal details or PIN number
  • Consider registering number with Telephone Preference Services www.tpsonline.org.uk or by phoning 0845 070 0707.
  • Ask your telephone company to block callers who withhold their number.
  • Don’t dial a premium-rate number (beginning 090) unless you know how much you’ll be charged and you – or the person paying the bill – are willing to pay.
  • If you think something is wrong, hang up
  • Try to then use a different phone-line (eg mobile) to report
  • If you receive a text/SMS service you don’t want, reply with the word STOP. The service should end immediately.

Email & Internet

  • Ensure personal firewall and anti-virus software is installed and up to date. For advice go to www.getsafeonline.org
  • Do not reply to suspicious emails
  • Do not use links provided within emails, go to official websites separately through your internet homepage.
  • httpThe login pages of bank websites are secured through an encryption process, so a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol should appear in your browser window when accessing your bank site.
  • The beginning of your bank’s internet address will change from ‘http’ to ‘https’ when a secure connection is made.

Cold Calling

  • Lock – Keep your front and back doors locked, even when at home.

Stop – Are you expecting anyone?
Chain – If you decide to open the door, put the door chain on first.
Check – Ask for the caller’s ID and check it by phone.

  • Nominated neighbour scheme – ask a neighbour if they would be willing to accept a phone call from any unknown persons in order to establish their purpose of visit.
  • Have the confidence to turn someone away if you do not know who they are working for.
  • Check ID – if you are not sure ask the person to wait outside, shut the door and call the company they say their working for.

Post

  • You can take some simple steps to cut the number of unsolicited offers you receive by post, phone and email. This will make it harder for scammers to reach you. And it will give you the confidence to treat any offers you do receive with extra caution.
  • Do not respond to post if anyway doubtful.
  • Register with Mail Preference Service www.mpsonline.org.uk or by phoning 0845 703 4599.
  • Shred or destroy documents that contain your personal details before you throw them away – particularly receipts, bank statements and other financial mail. Just a few personal details from your discarded post and junk mail can provide all the information a criminal needs to commit ID fraud.
  • Set up online banking and billing options as this will reduce the amount of post that gets sent to you – and then there are no documents.
  • Know what dates you should receive your bills from your utility companies. Your bill may contain payment information and other sensitive information. If your bill doesn’t arrive contact your supplier.
  • Re-direct your post when you move house. If you suspect your mail is being stolen, contact the Royal Mail – it’s possible someone has made a mail re-direction order in your name without your knowledge.
  • Ask a family member or someone you trust to regularly pop in and remove any mail from your letterbox or from behind the front door when you’re away. Alternatively use the Royal Mail Keepsafe service, which can store your mail for you for up to two months.

Courier Fraud

1 – The Phone Call: A fraudster telephones you claiming to be from your bank or the Police. They say there is a problem with your bank account or bank card. They suggest you hang up and ring the bank/Police to ensure the call is genuine. Don’t be fooled – they stay on the line.

2 – The PIN Number/Cash Withdrawal: You are then either required to give them your PIN or they will ask you to attend your bank to make a large cash withdrawal to assist the bogus investigation. They will tell you not tell anyone or to discuss this with your bank.

3 – The Courier: They send a taxi or courier to you to collect your bank card or the cash you have just withdrawn. You’ve just become a victim of courier fraud.

Just remember: Your bank or the Police will NEVER ask you for your PIN or bank card – don’t give them to anybody!

Another scam seen within the past few months if that of individuals or small groups of people flagging passing motorists down and asking for money as they have run out of fuel. They may offer you an item of jewellery in exchange for the money; however, this is usually something of very minimal value. The last males arrested for this had ¾ tank of fuel and been sighted in various locations around the country doing the same thing.

Identity Theft

If thieves find out your personal details, they can use them to open bank accounts or get credit cards, loans and benefits in your name. Thieves may also use them to try and get documents in your name, such as a driving license or passport.

The information criminals are after includes your name, date of birth, address, National Insurance (NI) number, and bank and credit card details. Keep these details safe – both on and offline.

  • Protect your computer with the appropriate firewalls and security software. Always log off after a using a shared computer and clear the history when you finish using it.
  • Be sure you know who you are dealing with – do not enter sites through links in unsolicited emails. Only use recognised websites.
  • Only carry out financial transactions on secure websites – as mentioned above.
  • Keep passwords and PIN numbers safe. Don’t use the same password for more than one account and never use banking passwords for any other websites. Choose passwords that no-one can guess. Don’t use words and numbers that people who know you might be able to guess. See www.lastpass.com for a simple, secure and easy to use password manager.
  • When using social networking sites such as Facebook make sure you don’t give too much information about yourself – identity thieves can piece together your identity from public information bit by bit, like putting together a jigsaw.

Other

  • If you’re worried that someone may have tried to get credit in your name, ask for a copy of your personal credit file from one of the three credit reference agencies: Callcredit, Equifax and Experian.
  • Check bank statements as soon as they arrive. If any unfamiliar transactions are listed, contact the company concerned immediately.
  • Never give out passwords, personal or bank details over the phone or by email. If someone calls claiming to be from your bank or utility company, ask for their name and call them back using the official number printed on their communications.

 

If you have been a victim of fraud or a scam then please call the Police on 101, or 999 if the crime is in progress.

For more information visit www.hampshire.police.uk.
For crime and community information see www.hampshirealert.co.uk
To report fraud or get advice you can visit www.actionfraud.org.uk or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or forward scam emails to email@actionfraud.org.uk

 

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