Staying Safe Online

Beware of Scammers  (14/06/2023)

Scammers are getting so sophisticated that at times it’s almost impossible to distinguish between genuine and fraudulent phone calls, emails and texts.

The following 6 tips are offered to help protect yourselves:

  1. If the contact is made out of the blue, assume it’s a scam until proven otherwise.
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  2. If it’s a call, tell the caller you would like to hang up and ring back whatever organisation they claim to represent on a number you have or can find for them. Any legitimate organisation will have no problem with you doing this. A scammer, however, will do anything they can to keep you on the phone as they know if you call back on a legitimate number, you won’t be talking to them.
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  3. If it’s written correspondence, verify as much as possible before doing anything. If it’s an email, you can click on the sender’s name to reveal the actual email address which has sent the message. In doing so, you can check the email actually comes from the official web address of the company claiming to be sending it.
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  4. Is there a time-sensitive element to the correspondence? This is a huge giveaway. Even in situations of emergency, no professional organisation would ever want to make their customer feel they are being forced into doing something they don’t feel comfortable doing.
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  5. If the correspondence you’ve received is leading you down a road to something you wouldn’t normally do, such as moving large amounts of money around, or downloading software to your phone or computer at their request, you’re almost certainly dealing with a scammer.
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  6. Most importantly, take a breath and talk to someone about it. Whatever correspondence you’re dealing with, you’ve got time to take a pause, have a think about it and, ideally, ask someone else, such as a trusted friend or family member, what they think about it. Two pairs of eyes or ears are always better than one.

ACTION FRAUD  (28/04/2021)

Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For a fuller introduction of Action Fraud, click HERE.

Reporting fraud and cyber crime, click HERE.

Scam emails, click HERE.

Reporting a phishing attempt, click HERE.

Action Fraud Alert notifications, click HERE.

You can sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.

The system uses the Neighbourhood Alert Platform which is a secure, national community messaging facility used by Police, Neighbourhood and Home Watch, Crimestoppers, Fire & Rescue Services and local authorities throughout the UK.

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FRAUD AWARENESS

As part of a modern society the way we shop has changed dramatically.  Cash and cheque used to be the currency of choice but every year more of us are choosing to do our shopping using cards and online banking.  Although fraud comes in many forms, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from the crime.

   Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.

   Many frauds start with a phishing email.  Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details.  Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine.  You can always call your bank using the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, website (typed directly into the address bar) or the phone book to check if you’re not sure.

   Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on.  Identity fraudsters don’t need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.

   Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed.  Ensure your browser is up to date and set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.

   Sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option while shopping online. This involves you registering a password with your card company and adds an additional layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.

   If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things you haven’t bought, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.

   Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue.  If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Always question it.

   If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud.  This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you’ve already lost.

Hopefully you will never be unlucky enough to be a victim of fraud but you can rest assured that by following some, if not all, of the suggestions above, the possibility becomes less likely.  If you need advice about fraud, you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to discuss your situation.

70+ SCAMS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM  (27/05/18)

Comparitech have kindly offered us access to their list of 70+ common scams (online and offline) and guidance on how to avoid them.  To access the comprehensive A-Z of common scams, schemes and fraud, click HERE

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WARNING!  THAT HOLIDAY YOU BOOKED ONLINE MAY NOT EXIST

FAMILIES are being conned out of more than £2million a year by fraudsters selling bogus holidays online.

The internet has revolutionised the way we look for and book our holidays.  The unfortunate reality is that it is also being exploited by fraudsters who use online offers of accommodation and flights that do not exist, or promise bookings that are never made to rip off unsuspecting holidaymakers.

Disappointed travellers have found Mediterranean villas or apartments they thought they had paid for did not exist.  UK caravan stays were also targeted, with fake promotions for accommodation posted on Facebook, as well as advertising websites Craigslist and Gumtree.

Fraudsters often set up fake web­ sites, mirroring those that provide genuine holidays.  In other cases, criminals offer bogus airline tickets or fake packages linked to sporting events such as the World Cup.

How to avoid the website scammers

   Check the website address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name, such as going from .co.uk to .org.

   Read reviews of the accommodation or company.  People who have been defrauded are likely to have posted warnings online.

   Is the company a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA?  You can verify membership of ABTA online, at www.abta.com

   Never pay directly into an owner’s bank account.  Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash.  The money cannot be traced and is not refundable.  Where possible, pay by credit card or debit card that offers protection.

   Study invoices and the terms and conditions.  Be very wary of companies that do not provide any.

   Use your instincts.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

   Report it.  Victims should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk

Previous Articles

The following previously published articles are still available to view:

How to deal with fraudulent emails
To open click here

The eight things your bank will never do
To open click here

How to keep your identity safe online
To open click here


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