From this week forward I’m going to try and use the word Fraud more than Scam.
I remember visiting a “Scam-ference” a couple of years ago and being struck by the conversations on the day showing the significant, lasting and sometimes devastating impacts when ‘scams’ take effect. It was clear than ‘scam’ made it sound like an annoying inconvenience rather than the fraudulent crime that created victims, stole money, stole dignity and peace of mind and sometimes led to true psychological and sometimes physical impacts.
Each scam is really a fraud which is a crime perpetrated by a criminal creating victims of crime. This make it a lot clearer how serious an issue we are all dealing with.
The office of the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner has recently launched the #saynotofraud campaign. If you read the information page about it here, you’ll see that they too are making sure that we don’t minimise the significant of these crimes. That we call it fraud rather than scams.
There’s an ongoing social media campaign now which is worth following.
The campaign is also asking you to take 5 minutes to talk about fraud with people you care about. Some victims of fraud are embarrassed and might find it embarrassing to tell anyone, because they feel they have been duped, victims often blame themselves. It is never your fault.
We need to stop feeling embarrassed about becoming victims and take back our right to say no to fraud! Close the door, press delete or hang up on these criminals.
Scam Prevention Kit
A reminder in the build up to Neighbourhood Watch Week (5th-11th June) that there are plenty of resources available for Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators to share with members/neighbours/residents to help everyone learn about and avoid scams (fraud). Visit this page to get to all the resources on the OurWatch website.
The relentless rise of Royal Mail text message scams
Here’s an interesting article on the Wired website. It’s a reminder about SMS (text message) scams and the fact that they are on the rise.
A text message feels personal and seems to have a credibility that it perhaps doesn’t deserve. It’s so easy to just click, follow a link and be onto a site that may or may not be real.
Read the article to make sure you’re aware just how complex this is. But be very, very careful about any text messages you receive. Especially those Royal Mail ‘fee required for your parcel to be delivered’ scams.
That article mentions that the Royal Mail fraud text then was followed up by a pretend Barclays bank call that made the fraud more complete. So here’s the wording from the Barclays Bank scam information alert which is worth printing in full here.
Think you’re talking to your bank or a trusted organisation? Think again
Impersonation is when fraudsters pretend to be from known organisations or authorities in the hope that you’ll share personal or banking information – or even transfer money out of your bank account. It was the most common scam criminals used to target businesses in 2020.
How the scam works
You might get a call from someone who claims to be from a recognisable organisation like Barclays or HMRC. A scam caller will try to convince you that your money isn’t safe, that your account is at risk, or that legal action is being taken against you. They’ll give you details of a new bank account and say you need to transfer your money there. However, once you’ve made that transfer, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see your money again. In other cases, a caller might pretend to be from the Police or other law enforcement agencies and ask you to transfer money to ‘assist an investigation’. This is a scam.
The caller might already know some of your information. They can sound professional, and it might seem like they’re calling from the correct number. Phone numbers on caller display can be faked (also known as ‘spoofing’) to look like the real thing, so don’t place your trust in the caller ID alone.
Scam caller tactics include
Asking for your personal information or bank login details
Claiming to be from your internet provider or a known retailer
Telling you to download software onto your computer, smartphone or tablet
It can be difficult to spot that you’re talking to a scam caller, so here are some tips to help you stay safe.
Four tips to fight fraud
Banks and other organisations (including the Police and law enforcement agencies) won’t ever ask you to transfer money to another account, or to give them your mobile or online banking passcodes. If any caller asks you to do this, it’s likely to be a scam
If you find yourself in this situation, take the caller’s details and end the call. Wait five minutes, then call the company on a number you’ve found independently, for example by checking their official website. A genuine caller is unlikely to mind you double-checking. You should never download any software that a caller asks you to
If you get a text or email you weren’t expecting – even if it looks like it’s from a recognised company – don’t follow any instructions without making checks first. You might be asked to click a link, call a phone number or transfer money – you should never do this until you’ve made sure the message is genuine. To check a Barclays phone number is genuine, search ‘Barclays phone checker’ online
Make sure all your staff know what to do – scammers use email and text messages as well as calls, so it’s important that everyone is prepared
Confirmation of Payee
Confirmation of Payee (CoP) was introduced to help protect you from scams that get you to transfer funds to the wrong account. It checks that the payee’s name matches the account details you’ve entered, so you can make sure you’re paying the right person or company.
Before you pay someone, make sure the payee name matches the organisation you’re doing business with. If you enter the payee’s information and the result is ‘no match’ or ‘partial match’, contact the payee directly to check the payment request is genuine, using a phone number you’ve found independently.
Scammers will often encourage you to ignore warning signs like account details not matching the payee name, or telling you which payment reason to enter when you’re prompted to do so. Remember, always independently check the account details of the organisation you’re paying. This is even more important if the bank you’re using isn’t signed up to CoP, because you won’t be shown a warning message.
The same applies when you’re asking people to pay you. Give customers your registered or trading name so that they know they’re sending their payment to the right company.
This update from Barclays is of course generally relevant to all banks.
Another bank warning. This time from Natwest warning people about crypocurrency fraud
Read the article about this on the BBC website here
And finally, another sort of fraud – Loan Sharks. New film.
You may or may not have thought about Loan Sharks. A new short film has been released and the page where you can view it is crammed full of information about loan sharks. Visit it at
As always, the more we (and our friends, neighbours etc) know about how frauds happen, the better we can be prepared.
So please share anything you learn in these bulletins with family, neighbours and maybe members of your Neighbourhood Watch Group.
If you’re on social media, then follow #saynotofraud too.
If you have any questions or concerns about scams then you’re welcome to contact Karl or Glyn for a chat.