Check out the latest Scam Alert!

Check out the latest Scam Alert!

by Danielle Thompson (July 2020)

THERE is still not much improvement in our “summer” weather. Last week I mentioned a call from an unknown number that was clearly a scam call. I have looked further into these types of calls, since one of my local friends also had similar calls towards the end of the week. The first call began with an automated voice saying "this is Nat West Bank Visa Fraud Team” and then a voice came on. My friend was immediately suspicious as she has no account with Nat West and the caller had a strong foreign accent. He said 2 payments had been made on her visa debit card and they had the name of a shop and an overseas bank. When she said she didn’t bank with Nat West, they hung up. An hour later the same thing happened but it was "Barclays". The third caller claimed to be from Halifax Building Society.

Many phone handsets now let you see the number of the person calling before you answer. This feature - known as 'Caller ID' or 'Calling Line Identity' (CLI) - is a handy way of screening the calls you want to answer from the ones you don't. However, there have been growing instances of nuisance callers and criminals deliberately changing the Caller ID, a practice known as 'spoofing'.

Sometimes there's a good reason for a caller to modify the Caller ID (for example, a caller who wishes to leave an 0800 number for you to call back if you want). However, with spoofing, the callers deliberately change the telephone number and/or name relayed as the Caller ID information. They do this to either hide their identity or to try to mimic the number of a real company or person who has nothing to do with the actual caller. For example, identity thieves who want to steal sensitive information such as your bank account or login details, sometimes use spoofing to pretend they're calling from your bank or credit card company. If you start to receive such calls, warn family, friends, neighbours, the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme etc. Finally, if you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your credit or debit card, and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Now an update on some activity about online shopping: the following comes from an Action Fraud report. Almost 34% of all retail sales during May 2020 were carried out online and new research suggests that only 16% of UK consumers intend to return to their old shopping habits post-lockdown.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, received over 16,000 reports relating to online shopping and action fraud during the lockdown, with losses totalling over £16m. Members of the public have reported buying mobile phones (19%), vehicles (22%), electronics (10%) such as games consoles, AirPods and MacBooks , and footwear (4%) on sites such as eBay (18%), Facebook (18%), Gumtree (10%) and Depop (6%), only to have the items never arrive. 

Top tips for shopping online securely:

Choosing where to shop:
If you’re making a purchase from a company or seller you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first. For example, by checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was.

Email accounts:
Use a strong, separate password for your email account. Criminals can use 
your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping.

Scam messages:
Some of the emails or texts that you receive about amazing offers may contain links to fake websites. Not all links are bad but, if you’re unsure, don't use the link, go separately to the website. And remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. 

Payment method:
If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one as other payment providers may not provide the same protection.

What to do if you’ve fallen victim to online shopping fraud
If you think you’ve visited, or made a purchase on, a bogus website, you should first take a note of the website's address, then close down your internet browser. You should then report the details to Action Fraud and contact your bank to seek advice.

Finally, if you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, on their website, or on the back of your credit or debit card, and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available:

Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri.

For general advice 0344 493 0012. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri

The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri.

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