We are yet again in National Lockdown. As we stay indoors, we are increasingly at risk of being targeted by unscrupulous people.
It is wonderful to see communities coming together to help one another to help those at high risk or who are self isolating. Whilst the generosity of people in communities may make us feel safe and looked after, it is crucial to realise that not everyone is so trustworthy.
Scams cost the UK economy between 5 and 10 billion pounds per year. (Trading Standards 2021). Although anyone can be a victim of a Scam, the average age for the vulnerable is 75 .
43,500 people in Cheshire East have been victims of Scams. Fraudsters find ever more sophisticated ways to target people, by cold calling on your phone, via email, text or What’s App and Social Media messages.
Raising awareness of Scams can help with an early intervention of such victims aforementioned, and those about to next be targeted. Please ensure they receive a timely intervention from a multi agency approach. Do Not Trust Them. Check out their authenticity and where they claim to be from.
A scam doesn’t only impact on your finances, it can take its toll on your health and wellbeing. Throughout Covid in particular, it is crucial to safeguard ourselves and others. Here are some facts to remember:
The NHS will never ask for payment for the Covid vaccine – the vaccine is free.
The NHS will never ask for your bank details.
The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your house to administer the vaccine, or demand that you are tested.
The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by asking for copies of personal documents, such as your passport.
Identity fraud involves the misuse of an individual’s personal details to commit crime. Your details are valuable to criminals and can be misused by them, or sent/sold on to others, do not divulge your profile.
Scammers want personal or financial information. This might include:
- A) Name, address and previous addresses.
- B) Birthday, age or date of birth.
- C) Family and pets names
- D) Bank or investments name, account number, sort code etc.
How do Scammers get what they want?
- A) Through photos or comments on social media sites (such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter).
- B) Through discarded post and letters, that my contain personal information.
- C) Through phishing emails and text messages. These encourage you to click on links, which then take you to fake websites, which fraudsters then harvest your information, or put malware on your device to extract details directly.
- D) On the phone, by pretending to be your Bank, the Police the Inland Revenue etc. Fraudsters may then obtain pockets of information, over time, that they join together, and share.
What do scammers do with the information they obtain?
- A) Open bank accounts, credit cards, loans and state benefits.
- B) Order goods in your name.
- C) Take over your existing accounts.
- D) Take out phone contracts.
- E) Obtain genuine documents such as passports in your name.
- F) Use your photos to set up fake media profiles on dating sites.
Age UK, 2021 is a great site to follow for advice on how to counteract these Scams.
What should we do to avoid scams?
- A) Be cautious and listen to your instincts.
- B) Take your time and don’t be rushed.
- C) If someone claims to be from an agency or charity, ask to see their ID.
- D) Always be suspicious of requests for money up front.
- E) If you need help, talk to someone you know, or seek advice from one of the agencies below. In the next paragraph.
- F) Be aware of sellers selling cheap masks, hand wash or other Covid protection products.
What to do if you have been scammed
- A) Contact Action Fraud 0300 123 2040
- B) Consider calling Citizens’ Advice 0800 223 1133
- C) Age UK are able to help people re-evaluate their finances, their benefits and coming to terms with what has happened.
Written by Jenny Mills in conjunction with Goostrey Parish Council.
Thank you all for such valuable insight.