STAYING SAFE FROM SCAMS
original article from the BBSI newsletter
Scams come in many different forms and are an attempt to deceive and exploit the unsuspecting and vulnerable with the intention of causing them difficulties and/or of defrauding them. Scams come in the form of email, by letter, telephone, and bogus doorstep callers.
So if someone contacts you by phone and offers you something that sounds suspiciously too good to be true, don’t allow yourself to be taken in: don’t engage in a conversation, or press whatever button you’re asked to press on an automated message. Just hang up!
When it comes to ‘phishing’ emails – the bogus emails masquerading, typically, as your bank or some other service provider in an attempt to get you to divulge personal information – please ignore and delete them!
Never click on a link, give out personal details, passwords, or bank account details. The links may contain viruses or malicious code designed to harm your computer and compromise your privacy.
Also, please don’t allow yourself to be hoodwinked into signing up for goods or services by a doorstep caller – in fact, it’s never a good idea to open the door to strangers unless they can provide credible identification and you’re actually expecting them on legitimate business.
Scammers prey on the elderly and vulnerable, but everyone is potentially at risk of being scammed. Fraudsters will target just about anyone, irrespective of background, age, or where they live.
Here are some typical examples of scams currently doing the rounds and to watch out for – don’t be duped!
HMRC Bogus Phone Calls
This scam is in the form of an automated phone message (with a rather menacing voice) which says that HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you, and to press button one to speak to a caseworker to make a payment. Do not fall for this. Hang up!
Fake TV Licensing Email
These emails attempt to trick people into opening fake emails with subject lines like “correct your licensing information” and “your TV licence expires today”. Other scam email messages tell customers that they are due a refund or need to keep up their payments. A link in the body of the email, if clicked, directs customers to a fake website where they are asked to input personal information and bank details.
BT Fault on the Line Scam
Many BT customers are being targeted with this scam in which an automated message in a well-spoken British male voice (although there are variations of this) tells the customer that there is a fault on their line, and then asks them to press button one. Don’t run the risk of becoming a victim of fraud by doing as requested. Put the phone down. If you were to check the caller’s number, via 1471, this would probably reveal the number to be a spoofed one, i.e. masked by another number to hide the real one.
If you think you may have been the victim of a scam you can get advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06. To report a fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
The following organisations are an excellent source of further information, along with details of the many other types of scams in circulation, and advice on what you can do to stay safe.
Think Jessica www.thinkjessica.com
Friends Against Scams www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk