THIS week, the second week of Scam Awareness Fortnight, I need to warn everyone about two new BT scams that you need to be wary of.
First, my friends at National Trading Standards say there have been reports that fraudsters are calling people, pretending to be from BT. They are offering a bonus for being a loyal customer, and asking for bank details in order to process the “loyalty bonus”. STOP, THINK and PROTECT yourself by refusing any calls out of the blue with offers too good to be true, and don’t share your personal or bank details over the phone.
A second BT scam involves a phoney BT e-mail asking you to change your direct debit arrangement, This sneaky scam email uses genuine BT links with urgent calls to action in order to pressure you into handing over your bank details. The email begins with ‘Avoid missing payments’ to get your attention. It then goes on to say ‘We wanted to let you know that your Direct Debit with us is no longer active. This means you don't currently have an automatic payment method set up to deal with your bills.' Underneath this statement there’s a link that directs you to a fake website to set up a new direct debit - this is where your personal and financial details will be taken, so don’t click on this. A BT spokesperson said: 'We advise our customers to remain vigilant against potential scams, especially phishing emails. If you are suspicious or uncomfortable with an email appearing to be from BT please contact our customer service team for support.”If you receive such an email, report it by forwarding the scam email to 7226 and block the sender.
Finally, a summary of our Scam Awareness Fortnight “pointers” about 3 types of regular scams and how to avoid them.
1. Competition Scams Often found on Instagram, fake accounts will trick you into liking, sharing and commenting on their posts to win something. You’ll then get a DM saying that you’ve won! And they’ll ask you to pay an upfront cost for delivery and ask for personal information. They’ll then use this to steal your money and your identity.
2. Too good to be true deals If something sounds too good to be true — it probably is. Scammers pose as real brand accounts offering exclusive discounts on luxury goods. The accounts often have fake followers and post enhanced photos to make them seem real. When you buy from them, the goods are either fake and poor quality, or they never turn up.
3. Phishing emailsThese are emails used to steal your personal information. Often scammers pose as organisations such as the government and ask you to fill in information to receive a grant. If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): firstname.lastname@example.org
There are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself against scams.
Use a strong password — and make sure your email password is different to passwords you use on other websites. Choose 3 random words and add numbers and symbols.
Don’t click on things you don’t trust — this includes links or downloads from friends that seem out of character. For example, getting you to vote for them in a competition or send money.
Make sure your antivirus software is up to date — your phone or laptop will notify you when the software needs updating
What to do if you’ve been scammed;If you or someone you know has been scammed, you can call our Citizens Advice Consumer Service. 0808 223 1133 Advisers are available Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm.
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, & 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