Scams bulletin 3

Every week a Scams Bulletin is now published on NELwatch.org.uk.  This is part of the support being offered by the North East Lincolnshire Neighbourhood Watch Network. As Scams are a real issue for all our communities, Big Local will be re-posting those Scam updates here.

Visit the website www.nelwatch.org.uk for more information about Neighbourgood Watch.

Ways to report all kinds of scam

We can all help to tackle scams and fraud by ensuring things are reported appropriately.

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).

To report a loan shark Telephone 0300 555 222

GetSafeOnline – this weeks’ useful resources

This week’s useful resource is the GetSafeOnline website here https://www.getsafeonline.org/

There is a huge amount of information but it is broken down into specific sections. So if, for example, you are interested in donating to a charity online then there is a guide to explain to you about warning signs, what to do and what not to do. There are guides to almost every kind of online activity and how to stay safe doing it.

The website makes an interesting place to learn more about scams, fraud and keeping safe. And it’s worth knowing about when you have a discussion with a neighbour or friend about what they are doing online. Perhaps there is a guide on GetSafeOnline that you can advise they read before they start doing something online?

At the moment more and more people are doing things online that they’ve never done before. And if you’ve never done something before you won’t know what is right or wrong and what pitfalls to look out for. GetSafeOnline can help give you that confidence.

Have a visit and recommend the site to others.

Watching out for warning signs of scam victims

Victims of scam very often don’t realise they are being scammed or are victims. But if relatives or neighbours or friends look out for the signs then there is a chance of catching the scamming early on and starting to help out.

Victims can be hard to help because of their ignorance or denial, so you might need to offer advice and support carefully or ask for more professional or experienced help. But this week here are a few tips as to the warning signs to look out for.

  • A ‘typical’ victim may receive an inordinate amount of post, often ordered as described above. Psychic or clairvoyant mass marketing mail tends to address the recipient by their first name or by the generic term ‘friend’.
  • They may have received ‘holding’ prizes – small items of little value delivered to their home as an enticement to maintain their interest.
  • The landline may ring consistently or at odd hours of the day and night – these callers are often phoning from overseas, their ‘call centre’ is open 24/7 and they think nothing of getting a victim out of bed to instil the mantra of the win.
  • The victim may be very secretive about this aspect of their life if you start asking questions. They have often been groomed into believing that to divulge their imminent win/cure/prophesy will result in all contact being terminated.
  • Some victims may confess to being penniless. It may transpire that all of their money has gone towards constant release fees, paid out in small but increasingly regular amounts.
  • There may be evidence of large cash withdrawals or multiple cheque payments
  • You might notice regular unknown visitors to the doorstep
  • There could be physical changes that could result from eating more poorly (running out of money)
  • or changes to behaviour – withdrawal, depression, social isolation and so on

Bear in mind of course that at this difficult time there can be many reasons for behavioural, emotional or physical changes in people. The signs may not be a symptom of scamming but of something else (and that ‘something else’ might be well worth talking to them about).

But scamming will ultimately impact on finances, so keep an eye out for warning signs that show changes to the finances of the person you might be worried about.

In all cases try and get the victim to report scams and fraud as soon as you can.

If you want to learn more about these sorts of warning signs then visit www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk

Are you working from home these days?

If so, take a read of this IT advice page from the National Cyber Security Centre. It explains about keeping safe from cyber attacks when using personal IT equipment and working from home.

And if you have a few minutes to spare, visit their online, interactive video training session called Stay Safe Online (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/training/top-tips-for-staff-web/story_html5.html) It includes easy tips for making sure you’re following good working pratices.

Follow up

As with each of our weekly scam bulletins, you can follow up on anything that’s mentioned in the bulletin by asking questions, adding examples or joining in discussions about the topics via our online discussion website.

The site is at https://www.biglocalnorthcleethorpes.org.uk/nelwatchnetwork and you can contact Karl Elliott if you want an account creating so you can get into the site. More about how that site works here. Any NWG Coordinators or members or anyone else interested in Neighbourhood Watch across North East Lincolnshire can join the discussion site for free.