A scam is a fraud or con usually intended to trick you into paying money or disclosing personal details. Scammers can be very convincing and may already be in possession of your name or bank details when they contact you. There are several different methods used by these criminals.
They will phone you pretending to be the police, your bank or some other genuine organisation. They may ask you to transfer money by phone or withdraw cash from your bank for collection from your home address. Neither your bank nor the police will ever ask you to give them your PIN or security details over the phone nor will they ever take money from you for safekeeping.
Scammers may pretend to be from your phone or internet service provider offering to fix a problem with your computer or broadband. Every call like this is a scam and carried out with the intention of remotely accessing your computer or obtaining your banking details.If you receive an unexpected phone call please don’t give out any personal information nor follow instructions given by the caller. If you receive a scam call please report it to the police and Action Fraud.
Action Fraud is the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre
Criminals may send you an e-mail with a link or attachment in the hope that you will click or open to direct you to a scam website. They may pretend that they are your bank, the tax office (HMRC) or some other genuine company in an attempt to steal your money or obtain your personal details. Even if you are a customer of that particular organisation you should avoid following the instructions and contact the genuine organisation yourself by phone or in person. If you receive an unexpected e-mail asking you to follow instructions please don’t click on any link or open any attachment as it may be a scam e-mail. Even if an e-mail appears to be from someone you know, if it’s asking you to send money or banking details, you should not reply to the e-mail but contact the sender by other means to check whether it’s genuine.
Cyber Safe Warwickshire provides information about online safety and security
Scam mail is mail sent by criminals to unsuspecting recipients. Two of the most common scams are lottery and prize draw scams. Victims are told they have won a large cash prize, but are asked to send a fee to release it. No genuine lottery or competition would ask you to send money in order to claim a prize. Victims who respond to the letters may end up being targeted by other scammers all over the world. Criminals are sending letters which trick millions of people into parting with billions of pounds every year. If you receive a letter which you think may be a scam please don’t reply to it or send any money. Tell someone you trust and show them the letter. Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Think Jessica is a national charity providing advice and support. Friends Against Scams is the National Trading Standards Scams Team.
Criminals may unexpectedly call at your door pretending to be from a utility company (water, gas, electricity) or another organisation to try to gain access to your home. They generally target older people and will try to panic the occupier into letting them in. Once inside they will look for items to steal. These bogus callers may look genuine and may even have identification which appears legitimate. They will probably tell you that they are dealing with an emergency and that they need to gain access to your house quickly. If someone comes to your door requesting entry please don’t let them in unless you can be absolutely sure they are genuine. Phone a neighbour or friend to help you and, if you think the caller may be bogus, contact the police on 101 (999 in an emergency).
IF YOU’RE NOT SURE, DON’T OPEN THE DOOR!
Safe Use of Bank Cards
Bank machines are generally safe to use but we must all be careful when we use them. Whether you’re in the street, inside a bank or out shopping, you need to take care and protect your personal details. Before using a bank machine, whether indoors or outdoors, you should always check behind you to make sure that no-one can see what you are doing. When you enter your PIN number always shield the keypad a few inches above with your hand or something else. This should prevent anyone from seeing the PIN over your shoulder and would also help in the rare cases where a miniature camera has been inserted into the frame of a cashpoint machine (ATM).
The crime prevention website provides advice on the safe use of cash point (ATM) machines
If you’re about to use a chip and pin machine in a shop or other retail premises check behind you to make sure it’s safe to use and don’t be afraid to politely ask anyone invading your personal space to step back. Your PIN number is confidential and you should take care not to disclose it. If you have a contactless credit or debit card you should consider protecting it by keeping it in an RFID sleeve or wallet. This type of card can sometimes be ‘scanned’ by criminals using a card reader or mobile phone application, even when it’s in your purse or wallet. Protect your contactless cards to prevent this from happening.