Right now criminals are using fake news articles and social media on the internet to promote remedies, cures and false advice around coronavirus, so you need to be careful to only share articles from trustworthy sources. Impersonation scams are on the increase and the criminals are experts in impersonating people, organisations and the police. UK Finance urges the public in general to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, which offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help people spot scams and protect themselves against fraud. If you can, check https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/general-advice/ which urges consumers to take time before going ahead with sharing or participating in “offers”.
Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
Customers can report suspected scam texts to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726, and forward any suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) suspicious email reporting service. Suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should be forwarded to email@example.com and texts to 60599.
Top signs that you are being targeted by an impersonation scam include:
You receive a call, text, email or social media message out of the blue with an urgent request to make a payment, or for your personal or financial information.
You’re asked to act immediately, sometimes with the claim that ‘your money is at risk’, or ‘your account will be blocked’ if you don’t.
The caller asks you to transfer money to another account for ‘safe-keeping’
The sender’s email address is different to that of the genuine sender
If you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message purporting to be from HMRC, World Health Organisation (WHO), or a coronavirus-related charity, never click on links or download attachments as criminals may infect your device(s), and take a moment to think before you part with your money or personal details. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you receive a call offering you protective face masks, hand sanitizer, testing kits or medicine, be aware that they may not always be genuine. If you do receive a call, don’t be afraid to refuse, reject or ignore their requests. Do not be rushed into making a decision,. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
I am currently investigating a Gumtree scam where properties to let (owned by Social Housing) are being advertised to rent and the scam covers tenancy “deposit” and advanced rent payments.
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