Scams update 2

Welcome to our second Scam bulletin. Each week I’m just sharing ideas, resources, tips and advice about scams and fraud – mainly how to avoid it!

Please read yourself; share with your family, friends and neighbours. And if you’re part of a Neighbourhood Watch Group please see if you can make sure others in the group learn about these important Scam messages too. We all have to work together to beat the scammers!

If you want to discuss anything you read here please feel free to contact me (Karl / / 01472 897337). And don’t forget all of these discussions are taking place on our new private, NELwatch discussion website here (

Take Five

The national, anti-scam campaign “Take five to stop fraud” is a very important message to tell others. It’s a practical approach that anyone can take to make sure people get a chance to avoid falling foul to scams.

The message is that “Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money. “

Then there are three steps to take:
Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Learn this message yourself. Then make sure others know about it too. Tell your Neighbourhood Watch Groups members (as well as family and friends).

There is plenty of information on the website here including posters and more.

The other flavour of message is “My money? My info? I don’t think so”. If someone is pressuring you to provide either, then that’s the time to “Take five”.

So, don’t rush to respond to that letter or email – no matter how urgent it says it is. That caller on the phone or even at the door can wait. Tell them to make an appointment. Tell them to call back, or that you’ll get back in touch (using a number you look up yourself). No genuine service or business will pressure you or ask you for information. Ideally use those few minutes to ‘phone a friend’ or get someone else to check things out with you. Put yourself in control.

If you need someone to speak to about something you’re not sure about then why not contact your Neighbourhood Watch Group coordinator? or Glyn or Karl? or a staff member at VANEL or Big Local? or some other charity staff member or professional that you know?

Take five to stop fraud. Visit the website now.

HMRC warnings

HMRC have shared some of the scams that are circulating that pretend to come from HMRC and relate to coronavirus. Find their examples here.

HMRC advice is the same as that offered through the Take five campaign.
Stop: Take a moment to think before parting with your information or money. Genuine organisations like banks or HMRC won’t normally contact you out of the blue to ask for personal details.
Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. Then check the page on HMRC to look for genuine HMRC contact details.
Protect: Use the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phone, tablet or laptop. Update these regularly or set your devices to automatically update so you don’t have to worry.
Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to and texts to 60599.
Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, and report it to Action Fraud .

Keep up with new scams

The weekly ScamShare Bulletin (here) is always worth a read. Sometimes there are some Scotland specific frauds in here (it is Scottish after all), but generally it’s worth looking out for all the frauds that are mentioned there.

The latest edition is here and you can subscribe from here. Back issues are here.

Shopping safely

This week’s advice is about shopping online safely. This is especially important if you’re new to shopping online. The National Cyber Security Centre has a guide here to explain:
choosing where to shop
don’t give away too much information
keep your devices up to date
use strong passwords
turn on two-factor authentication if possible
use a password manager
take care with links in emails and texts
and what to do if things go wrong
Read it here

Think Jessica

This is a hard-hitting, though provoking website sharing the story of Jessica and what to do to prevent repeats of her story. Jessica had a very sad end to her life falling victim to the scammers who deprived her of her money, her health, her family and her latter years. If you ever have doubts that scams are a crime with real victims then visit this website. I heard her daughter (who runs Think Jessica) present last year and it’s a moving story. All the more reason for us all to play our part in stopping scammers.

And finally – has anyone started becoming a Friend Against Scams as mentioned in last week’s bulletin? If not – why not? Or tell us your experiences.

Karl, Editor