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Fraud Advice

Anyone can be targeted and fall victim to fraudsters as they use a variety of methods to obtain money and personal details. They normally make contact via email or telephone and can very plausible and convincing but before you give any details ask yourself ’How do I know this is genuine’ and ’Is this too good to be true?’ if it is then it’s more than likely a scam.

If you have elderly relatives, make sure they are also aware of what things they can do to protect themselves if they are targeted.

In addition to the below advice the Metropolitan Police have also kindly provided their The Little book of Big Scams booklet which is a resource to assist in combating fraud and other economic crime, and to prevent you becoming a victim of crime.

General advice

ActionFraud

  • Ask yourself ’Do I know this is genuine?’ and ’Is this too good to be true?’ because often if you can consider these clearly then you have more chance of recognising a scam
  • If you suspect any frauds or scams report it by calling Action Fraud on 0300 1232040

Police officer impersonator

This is a scam in which a fraudster telephones pretending to be a police officer. The caller claims a criminal has been arrested with a substantial sum of money on them and a list of names and addresses, including the victim’s.

OR

that a fraud has been committed on their bank account.

They then suggest the victim calls their bank or the police to confirm their details. The victim hangs up but the caller does not and so the call is not terminated. As a result without realising it, the victim starts talking to the fraudster again, thinking they have called their bank or the police.

During the conversation, the offender says he will need to examine the victim’s bank card, also their PIN number in case it has been compromised and that a courier will come to collect the card.

A smartly dressed man then arrives at the victim’s home, the card is taken and the PIN number used to withdraw cash.

Our advice

  • If you ever have doubts about someone phoning you, hang up, ensure the line has been terminated and ring back on an official number
  • Never give out your PIN number as Banks will never ask for over the phone
  • Never give bank cards to anyone at your door, even if they say they are from your bank

WEST AFRICAN FRAUD “419” FRAUD

This scam will begin by you receiving a letter/fax/email this informs you that there is a large sum of money in a bank and your assistance is needed to get it out of the country usually Nigeria or somewhere else in Africa. On receipt of one of these put them in the dustbin. You have not been personally targeted you are one recipient of a number of these letters sent out by the fraudsters all over the world. Your details were obtained from telephone directories mailing lists etc. If the item is sent by email you can send a copy of the email to the ISP of the sender by emailing abuse@hotmail.com abuse@yahoo.com etc

The fraudsters are increasingly using the Internet to target people in this country as they are harder for law enforcement agencies to intercept and detect.

If you get involved with this type of fraud you stand to lose a considerable amount of money once the fraudsters gets you hooked by you replying to them.

PHISHING

This is an attempt to obtain your personal banking details. The general method used is that you will receive an email purporting to be your bank/ building society. It will inform you that there has been a breach of your security or you need to update. You are then directed to a Web Site that appears to be a legitimate site where you will be tricked into disclosing your banking details.

If you receive any such message do not reply do not pass any personal information by email. If you are concerned about any of your accounts contact the company by post/telephone at an address or number you know to be genuine.

You can purchase software to protect you from this type of attack

CASHBACK FRAUD

Usually as a result of a person offering something for sale on Internet/Exchange Mart/ Local Paper they are contacted by a BUYER who will want to purchase item without even wanting to see or inspect it. The seller will then receive a cheque for considerably more than the asking price. They will be asked to send some or all of the difference to the buyer/shipping agent by way of money transfer usually Western Union. The cheque will either be forged or stolen and even if cleared by your bank can be recalled and you will not be reimbursed for your loss

LOTTERIES

You will be contacted by email/phone/letter. You will be informed that you have won a considerable amount of money on a lottery. You will if you reply be asked to send money to claim your win for tax/ clearing/ processing your win. Don’t reply put letter or emails in dustbin do not take telephone calls from companies.You will lose money if you get involved. You have not been personally chosen you are just one person of thousands contacted by the fraudsters

CLAIRVOYANT OR PSYCHIC

“I accidentally discovered this amazing secret. I wish to send it to you free. In fact, I am convinced that over the next 30 days a ‘Miracle’ will certainly occur, one which could shelter you from need for the rest of your days…”

This is an example of a psychic mailing. The information which follows suggests that the recipient can guarantee good fortune for themselves by paying a sum of money for the "loan" of "Merlin's Magic Wand" for a number of months. (Also on offer is a "gift worth more than £10" in return for a prompt reply). It includes anonymous endorsements from people whose lives are claimed to have been changed.

In some cases, these mailings adopt a more aggressive tone, suggesting that the recipient will actually experience some misfortune if they do not respond by the sending money requested.

Such mailings prey directly on the vulnerable and are particularly unpleasant. There are a number of instances where they have been received by people at the time of some misfortune, such as a bereavement, and have caused considerable distress.

Mail of this kind should be treated with exactly the same scepticism as all other forms of unsolicited scam mailing.

  • Don’t reply to these mailings
  • Destroy them without responding

BOGUS CHARITY COLLECTIONS

Many people find donating old clothes and goods to charities a good method of clearing out their cupboards and making space. Charities often make use of doorstep collections to gather donations directly from people’s homes. However, some of these charity collections are bogus.

It is estimated by the Association of Charity Shops that the potential value of donated clothing and other items ‘lost’ to legitimate charities as a result of these bogus collections amounts to over £1m per annum. Many genuine charities rely on such doorstep collections for a substantial proportion of their shop sales.

Typically, householders receive flyers through their letterboxes appealing for donations of unwanted clothes, footwear and sometimes other household and electrical items, to be distributed to poor individuals and families in Eastern European or third world countries. Householders are asked to leave the goods in a plastic bag by the front door. These are later collected anonymously.

The flyers give the misleading impression that the items are being collected for charitable purposes. In reality, the collections seem to be organised by commercial operators who sell the donated items for profit. The misleading impression is in some instances reinforced by a reference to a registration number, which people may think is that of a Registered Charity but is in fact a limited company number.

If you have any doubts about a leaflet asking for donations, you can:

  • Contact the Charity Commission helpline on 0870 333 0123 to check whether the collection is for, or on behalf of, a registered charity.

WHAT YOU CAN D0

If you are being targeted by these fraudsters remember that you are only one of many and you can take some minor precautions for your own safety depending on how you are being contacted.

EMAIL – Ensure that you are protected by personal firewall and anti-virus software. Keep them regularly updated. Report as abuse to senders ISP any messages you receive. NEVER REPLY TO ANY EMAIL YOU ARE UNSURE OF.

TELEPHONE- Report any suspicious phone calls to your phone company. Consider registering your number with Telephone Preference Service (TPS Online) or 0845 070 0707
NEVER GIVE PERSONAL DETAILS OVER THE PHONE

POST- Beware of unwanted mail from outside this country or from a Post-box address in this country. LOTTERY and CASHBACK fraudsters are increasingly using these. Consider registering with Mail Preference Service (MPS Online) or 0845 703 4599.

If you have sent money because of any of the above scams contact your local police on 101 (Cambridgeshire Constabulary)

These matters can also be reported to your local Trading Standards Office

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