Sunday saw the longest day of this year, and we are looking forward to some sunny days. Before I review current scam stories, I would just like to say how pleased I was to hear the good news that the dogs who were the friends of Jim Sharp (One Man and His Dog) have, thanks to my RSPCA friends, found their loving forever home.
Now turning to this week’s scam update, a scam that is going the rounds relates to free school meals and the Department for Education has issued warnings about a scam email designed to steal your bank details. The email says: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported.’ Again, our advice is NEVER to respond to these phishing messages, AND If you receive an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also report the scam to Citizens Advice who will give you advice on what to do next and report the scam to Trading Standards. Citizens Advice National consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133 (Calls from mobiles and landlines are free.) Textphone: 18001 0808 223 1133.
We are also aware of many stories about the NHS Coronavirus test and trace system. Local councils in England and Wales have issued alerts about bogus calls and messages asking for money to cover the cost of coronavirus testing kits. Official tracers will never ask for payment of any kind, or for bank details. The test and trace system is part of the government's efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus, with contact tracers getting in touch with those who have had recent close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. However, fraudsters are posing as contact tracers to deceive people into parting with money or personal details. The Local Government Association (LGA) says the "ruthless scam" is "another worrying and sickening attempt to trick people out of their money by preying on the public's fears". A recent survey by Citizens Advice found more than one in three people in the UK have been targeted in various scams since lockdown began.
In the scam, a message or phone call claiming to be from the NHS test and trace service says the victim has been in contact with coronavirus and must therefore self-isolate and take a test. The scammers then ask for confirmation of address so a testing kit can be sent out. Bank card details are then requested - purportedly to cover the cost of the testing kit. NHS says that tracers will never:
ask you to dial a premium rate number (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
ask you to make any form of payment
ask for any details about your bank account
ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
ask you for any passwords or Pin codes, or ask you to set up any passwords or Pin codes over the phone
ask you to purchase a product - including a test
ask you to download any software to your device, or ask you to hand over control of your PC, Smartphone or tablet
Anyone receiving a call they suspect is not genuine should report the call 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. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/
Citizens Advice Lancashire telephone is available between 9 - 5 M to F.& 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1 294 and Help to Claim line
0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashire.org.uk