Scams bulletin 8

Just a few quick Scam related updates this week:

This week in the news: Banks reveal the ten top scams that people need to currently be aware of. Some of these are financial and some are related to Covid-19. Read the article here.

The other warning this week is about a current Phishing attack that targets PayPal account holders. There’s a report about this on ActionFraud here. If you’re not a PayPal account holder then you’ll know by now not to click on these sorts of emails as they won’t relate to you. But if you do use PayPal then only ever investigate things by logging into your properly password protected account – never by clicking on the links in emails sent to you.

Avast (anti-virus people) have produced a simple guide to how to recognise Phishing emails. Take a look here.

If you are not aware, OurWatch (the National Neighbourhood Watch organisation) has an agreement with Avast to inform Neighbourhood Watches and individuals with good advise on tackling Scams. There’s an interesting web page here with lots of information and simple downloadable guides. If you think you know lots about spotting cyber fraud, or want to improve your knowledge then you can become ‘Cyberhood Watch Certified’ by running through their quick online course here. Should be interesting and then you can share with your friends, family and neighbours too.

Just this week I’ve received a few phishing emails and I’ve noticed that they are now getting particularly clever. They look very genuine – just like they’ve come from the organisation they pretend to arrive from. They are also ‘relevant’ – so I’ve had a bill warning from BT (I’m a BT customer); a warning from Microsoft about an email address I use; another from Amazon about a delay on an unnamed package I’ve ordered (I’m shopping on Amazon of course these days, so it seems plausible for there to have been a delay); an an offer of holiday accommodation in Portugal (where I happen to have holidayed in the past) which actually tries to force you to unsubscribe (and that’s your hook…). All of these seem relevant to me NOW which tries to force me to click. So be very aware that everything that seems relevant is not.

Keep an eye on your email inbox and don’t fall foul of those scams! Why not share your experiences of scams on the NELwatch online discussion site at

Doorstep Fraud

What if the fraud is approaching you at the front door? Something to talk through with your neighbours and others in your Neighbourhood Watch Group?

Everyone should remember to practice good doorstep behaviour. So if a caller knocks on your door you should:

1 – Keep front and back doors locked (with keys taken out), even when at home.
2 – Stop and think, is anyone expected?
3 – Look through spy hole or window to identify caller.
4 – Put door chain or door bar on first before opening the door, and keep it on whilst talking to caller.
5 – Check their identity card carefully even if the caller has a pre-arranged appointment.
6 – Look up the phone number of who the caller represents in the phone directory; ring to verify the callers’ identity and do not use the phone number on the identity card, as this may be fake.

Remember that it is always best practise to go by recommendation from a friend/family member when appointing a trader to do work for you.

Good, reputable traders will not cold call and ask for money up front for jobs.

Which magazine has produced a detailed, up to date guide to doorstep fraud. Read it in full here. Share it with others and make sure you follow the tips yourself. Doorstep fraud only makes up 5% of fraud apparently, but, just like and scam or fraud it can have a huge impact on the victims, both financially and psychologically. Let’s all work together to tackle rouge traders and doorstep fraud.

That’s it for now. More next week. Join us on the Network Discussion site to continue the conversations.

Karl Elliott,
Development Manager, VANEL
and development support for NEL Watch