Scams

Let’s beat scams together

We all need to be on the lookout for Scams at the best of times. Now is not the best of times and the fraudsters and scammers (criminals) are taking advantage of the covid-19 health crisis.  Let’s all try and keep ourselves safe from scams and help spread the word with our clients, friends, family and neighbours to keep them safe too.

There’s lots of information, links and advice out there and this page is a summary.

We also produce a regular/weekly Scam Bulletin on our blog and you can read all the bulletins here.

Let’s start with the most important information – reporting a scam.

If you’re the victim of a crime

Please report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online here.

If you receive a phishing email then you can now report it by emailing report@phishing.gov.uk
This will end up going through to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and you can read about how they are dealt with here.

Citizens Advice have a comprehensive page of information about reporting scams and fraud. Read it here and follow their advice on reporting.

If you have fraudulent post then you can report it to Royal Mail. Write to Freepost Scam Mail or call 0800 011 3466 or email scam.mail@royalmail.com

You can also contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline via 0808 223 11 33

Or if you have a banking issue please contact your own bank direct (not by using any numbers or emails provided to you via a possible scam).

Some recent, specific scams and frauds to watch out for

– Text messages are being sent to recipients, purporting to be from HMRC, advising they can get a tax refund of up to £400. The text features a link to a fake government website where the recipient can determine whether they are eligible for a refund.

– Local reports have identified a phishing text message purporting to be from DVLA with a link to claim vehicle tax refund.
Something like: DVLA: Your outstanding vehicle tax refund from an overpayment is pending. Please visit our secure link to process https://dvla.ukgov-form1lt.com/?c=2

– Individuals are sent to a fraudulent looking .gov website asking for personal details including NI number, driver license number, mother’s maiden name, debit card and bank details.

– Another scam involves phishing attempts claiming to be from the UK Business Advice Bureau, offering government grants up to £25,000, aimed at small businesses. The email contains a telephone number, email address, and business address.

– Reports have been received of victims getting automated calls in which they were told that masks needed to be worn when leaving their residence and to press 1 to purchase one.

There are plenty more of course. Keep an eye on our regular bulletins for updates.

If you want to get an idea of the range and types of scam, then “Little Book of Big Scams” gives a comprehensive overview of the types of scam that can happen. Download the .pdf here.

General Advice about Scams

Humberside Police have a page explaining how to stay safe against scams:  https://www.humberside.police.uk/scams They also have a page about online fraud which is up to date with Covid-19 discussions https://www.humberside.police.uk/online-fraud

An up to date “How to avoid Fraud” factsheet from Humberside Police (Aug 2020) can be found here.

Remember that there are five ways into a home that fraudsters and scammers can exploit: the front door (visitors and door knockers), the postbox (letters and mail), your home phone (callers) and your mobile phone (which includes texts, apps, access to the internet, social media and so on) and your computer (emails, internet, social media).  When you’re thinking about protecting yourself or others against scams then consider all five ways in.

Take five to stop fraud is a national campaign to remind people to Stop, Challenge, Protect so that they don’t fall for scams easily. The ideas is to tell people to take 5 minutes to think about what they’ve ben asked rather than to react immediately. You can read lots about this along with plenty more information on their website here https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/

Friends against Scams is nationally encouraging people to take a stand against Fraud and Scams. There is a wide range of useful information on their website here https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/

Age UK have an excellent guide to avoiding scams which is relevant for everyone. Read it here.

Staying safe when working at home

Many of us are spending much more time online from home at the moment. So the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched “Cyber Aware” to provide a few tips for working safely from home. https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home

They also have more general advice for individuals and families about staying safe online.

Businesses and charities need to beware too

When a business is targeted then it’s more often referred to as Cyber Crime rather than a Scam. The main source of advice and protection for businesses (and charities, social enterprises and non-profit organisations) from Cyber Crime is the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Their website with information for charities is here https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/charity and there is plenty more for businesses small and large across their website https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/

Further information

If your organisation is concerned about Cyber Security and you are non-profit organisation in North East Lincolnshire then please feel free to contact Karl Elliott at VANEL for some advice. Karl has been delivering Cyber Security training for Charities as part of a NCSC funded project and may be able to point you in the right direction. (karl@vanel.org.uk)

If you’re involved with a Neighbourhood Watch Group them please speak to Glyn Atkinson who can discuss scams support with you (glyn@nelwatch.org.uk)

Discussions

If you want to chat about scams, fraud or cyber security then we have a space to chat on our online NELwatchNetwork discussion forum.  The forum is here https://www.biglocalnorthcleethorpes.org.uk/nelwatchnetwork and is free and simple to join.  (More info about the network here).

This page last updated 17th September 2020