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Crime prevention advice from Hampshire Constabulary following increase in fradulent scams

Alert message sent 12/08/2020 11:08:00

Information sent on behalf of Hampshire Constabulary


Hello,

While Government restrictions have been eased further recently, allowing many more of us to visit family and friends, go out shopping and entertaining the idea of eating out and frequenting pubs and restaurants – there is still a key issue that we all need to be aware of.

Scams.

Many of you may have received fraudulent emails in the past suggesting that you are the unexpected beneficiary of a large sum of money, or that there is a problem with your TV licence. What about the automated phone call from the Inland Revenue suggesting that you are involved in a fraud case and needing to press ‘one’ on your keypad, otherwise you run the risk of being reported to the police.

Yet the pandemic has created new scams – in a time where many of us were worried about our health and the health of our loved ones. There have been cases where emails claim that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus and that you yourself need to get tested for a fee of £50. This is simply not true.

However, many of you may have elderly parents or possibly someone else in the family who you might think could be ‘vulnerable’ to such scams.

To put minds at ease we have developed some simple guidance, along with our partners Neighbourhood Watch, which can then be passed on to relatives and friends to ensure that they too are protected from falling victim to such scams and fraudulent activity.

1.) Talk to one another on a regular basis.

Make sure that someone that they trust sits down with them on a regular basis – or on a video-call if they’re isolating - and discuss any unwarranted contact they may have had. This could range from being asked to make unexpected money transfers, to buying vouchers or gift cards for people they may not know, or believe that person to be.

2.) Check the post

Ensure that no scam mail gets misinterpreted as genuine. In recent months, Royal Mail have effectively banned scam mail including foreign lottery mailings – but some criminals will inevitably adapt their techniques to avoid these changes.

3.) Protect yourself online

Please watch out for scam messages.

Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

Likewise, if you’re making an online purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

4.) Beware of fraudulent telephone scams

We would recommend considering the use of a call screening service (e.g. Sky Talk Shield, BT Call Protect) or fit a Call Blocker. These will ensure that you are protected from unsolicited, nuisance calls.
Remember, over 80% of scams start with a phone call.

5.) Doorstop fraudsters

Don’t forget that scammers can still knock on the door. Get a We do not buy goods or services at the door - please do not cold call' door sticker from Trading Standards and ask neighbours to watch out for uninvited callers.

Remember that all of the above advice is vital. Scammers can be quite sophisticated and persistent when they get a whiff of success so you need to be vigilant. If a scam is found to be in progress, ensuring communication with the scammer is disrupted is key.

For more advice on scams and what to do if you or someone you know becomes a victim – please visit https://www.hampshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/prevent-personal-fraud/.
Message sent by
Wes Hutchins (Police, Corporate Communications Officer, Hampshire)

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