FIRST, there is a scam circulating in Scotland with fraudsters contacting people whose pets are missing. This scam could easily spread southwards, so if you are a pet owner, and your pet is missing, please be on your guard.
The scammers, claiming to be calling from a vet, are advising victims that their missing animal has been found and needs immediate treatment with payment required upfront. It’s important that you don’t share any of your personal or banking information with people contacting you out of the blue like this.
Instead, contact the vet that the scammer is claiming to be calling from using the official number from the vet’s website, or the phone number officially listed for them online, or via directory enquiries. Never give your personal details or bank details without first making a thorough check.
Next, Action Fraud has been warning bank customers in the past week to watch out for fake emails asking recipients to ‘verify’ their accounts. I believe that Natwest and Barclay customers were targeted. If you get such an email, do NOT respond as the links will lead you to fake websites where you will be asked to give personal details. Instead, you should forward the emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and then block the sender.
Finally, I have been reading this week about a number of vehicle tax scam email messages being sent out. A typical example says: “Your bank has told us that your recent Direct Debit Payment has been returned to you as you have cancelled your instruction As we have not been able to collect payment, we have now cancelled your Direct debit mandate and the vehicle is therefore not taxed. Failure to take action to remedy this may result in enforcement action being taken. Payment advice about DVLA Direct Debit is at >> Tax your vehicle. The agency reserves the right to withdraw Direct Debit as a payment method from anyone repeatedly failing to make payments or not adhering to the terms of the Direct Debit guarantee. Vehicle Service Manager.”
This recent example again makes threats in order to panic a potential victim into taking quick action they’ll later regret. ‘Enforcement action’ and ‘not adhering to the terms of the Direct Debit guarantee’ are all attempts to cause worry and upset – emotions which those behind emails like this are attempting to take advantage of.
If you receive any email like this you should report it to the National Cyber Security Centre via their suspicious email service, and forward suspicious text messages to their network provider to investigate, on 7726 free of charge.
Finally, Citizens Advice has a very useful website for help in dealing with scams. Just check the link https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam/
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 . 0808 278 7841 (freephone) Mon – Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm and text relay for people with hearing impairment: Text relay: 03444 111 445 for people with hearing impairment .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, and 9am and 1pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line
0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk