Check out this week's Scam Alert

Check out this week's Scam Alert

by Tom Martin (March 2021)

So, we are slowly moving towards Step 2 of England’s lockdown release (12th April) and most of us will be glad to return to “normal” shopping. 

Census Day is coming on 21st March, and Action Fraud is warning that criminals may try to use this as an opportunity to send phishing emails or texts in order to get scamming.

Please remember that at no point will you be asked for your bank details. You will only be asked for information such as date of birth, occupation and where you live. Please remember that this Census does not require home visits for more information. You will only be contacted about the census by letter, So NO DOORSTEP CALLERS re Census 2021 should be permitted entry, nor given personal information such as National Insurance Number nor banking details.

And the scams are getting more sophisticated and more threatening.

One currently doing the rounds, purporting to be from the National Crime Agency, claims there is a warrant out for your arrest for "serious offences".

Another common claim is that National Insurance numbers have been stolen, which might seem plausible given the number of data thefts.

Although the request to immediately send money to the tax office should ring alarm bells. Increasingly the calls are coming through to people's mobile phones, often appearing as a UK number to add another layer of legitimacy.

A family member has had 2 calls this week where the caller, with an American accent, claims to be a Federal Agent and they are investigating her for fraud.The call number shown was 02034671297.If you receive a call like this block the number and report it to Action Fraud. This is similar to other calls going the rounds purporting to be from the National Crime Agency claiming that there is an arrest warrant out for the “your arrest for serious offences”. Any request to immediately send money should ring alarm bells and the phone call should be terminated. Where possible, report the call to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/contact-us

A report this week from our Citizens Advice (National) team states that a large number of people have contacted Citizens Advice Consumer Service after they received a potentially fraudulent SMS. Over 400 cases have been raised with the Consumer Service so far in 2021, with instances ranging from fake messages purporting to be from mobile phone companies and banks, to fake texts related to Coronavirus vaccines and tax rebates. These are known as smishing texts. If you see the number on the text,you can help the fight to stop these scammers by reporting it to 7726 .I have seen reports of text purporting to be from PAYPAL and from Vodaphone, both of which show an apparently genuine telephone number. Again, if you get one of these, report it to 7726.

Finally, our general advice in these troubling times is to stay safe. So, never send sensitive, personal information, security details or credit card numbers by email

Protect your personal information. Never send sensitive, personal information, security details orcredit card numbers by email. Never click on a link in an email if you are unsure about it, especially if it asks for personal financial information. This might be an attempt to install malware on to your computer.

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 West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line – 0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk

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