Awareness of Scams

E-mails now in circulation, which attempt to trick people into handing over their bank details, were reported more than 1,000 times in 24 hours. It appears to come from the NHS and asks the recipient to click on a link to accept or decline an invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If they click accept, they are asked to input personal information and their bank card details.

The national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime has previously warned about coronavirus vaccine scams, with many people reporting receiving fake text messages purporting to be from the NHS.

Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, is warning the public to remain vigilant as fraudsters continue to act:

“It’s despicable that fraudsters will take advantage of such an important tool in the fight against this evil and deadly disease. Not only are the people being targeted with this email at risk of losing money, or having their identity stolen, but they are also at risk of not receiving the real vaccine.

“The public have been fantastic at reporting these scams to us and raising awareness in their local community as well. But unfortunately, as this latest phishing campaign shows, we still have to remain cautious and alert. Remember: anything purporting to be from the NHS asking you to pay for the vaccine, or provide your bank account or card details, is a scam.”

How to protect yourself

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

The NHS will never:

  • ask you for your bank account or card details
  • ask you for your PIN or banking password
  • arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.


If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
 

Message Sent By
Derek Pratt MBE (NWN, Administrator, Sussex)


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Online dating scams have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure you keep yourself safe.

Online dating has become a very popular way to meet someone new, whether you’re looking for love, companionship or just a bit of fun. Millions of people around the world have turned to the internet because of the choice and convenience it offers.


Since the COVID-19 outbreak, even more people are dating online, some to combat loneliness, others following a change in personal circumstances. Whilst the internet has come to many people’s rescue, we’ve also witnessed a substantial increase in romance fraud, where someone you meet online actually turns out to be a scammer, either working alone or part of an organised cybercrime syndicate. Other people have fallen victim to catfishing and other online harms. To the victim, the results range from often substantial financial losses, to major, sometimes life-changing trauma.

Most suitors are genuine, but you can never really tell who you’re talking to when it’s not face-to-face.

The Get Safe Online experts have put together a set of tips to help you protect yourself, your finances, your identity and your personal safety, so that you can date online with safety and confidence.Choose a reputable dating service and always keep the conversation on the website or app’s messaging service until you’re confident the person is who they say they are, and that their motives are honourable.Check that the person who has shown an interest in you is genuine. Enter their name, profile pictures and any repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’, ‘romance scam’ or ‘catfish’ into your search engine. Do a reverse image search to see if the photo is actually of somebody else. Get to know the person, not the profile.Ask as many questions as you think necessary, don’t let your heart rule your head or rush into anything. This may also help you avoid becoming a victim of a false relationship where you’re simply being used for sex.Never send money, your bank details or other passwords to someone you’ve met online, no matter how convincing they seem, nor how long you’ve been speaking to them. Banks will try to track and recover your payment, but aren’t responsible for your losses if the request is fraudulent.Don’t overshare personal details. Revealing your full name, date of birth, home address or workplace could lead to fraud, identity theft or even personal harm. Protect the names, details and locations of your children and family members.Be wary about sending intimate images or videos of yourself to someone you’ve met online. This could lead to problems later on, and you can never be sure who will get to view the content.Be wary of anyone you meet online who tells you not to mention them to your friends and family. Fraudsters and sexual predators work by isolating their victims.Exercise digital responsibly: don’t use dating services to ask for money, promote products, encourage illegal or irresponsible behaviour, spread ideologies or carry out recruitment of any kind.Be aware that reported crimes for stalking or harassment on social media and dating apps have increased substantially. Spot the signs and block the perpetrator.Before meeting someone in person for the first time (COVID-19 restrictions permitting), tell a friend or family member that you’re meeting, and where. Keep your mobile phone switched on, and think about arranging for someone to call you during the date to give you the opportunity to make your excuses and leave early.If you become a victim of romance or any other fraud, don’t be embarrassed but report it immediately to Action Fraud on www.actionfraud.police.uk or on 0300 123 2040 (if you’re in Scotland, Police Scotland on 101). Also, report it to the dating site where you met the perpetrator. Report any assaults to the police.

Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of information and advice on online safety and security, for the public and small businesses. It is a not-for-profit, public/private sector partnership backed by law enforcement agencies and leading organisations in internet security, banking and retail. For more information and expert, easy-to-follow, impartial advice on safeguarding yourself, your family, finances, devices and workplace, visit www.getsafeonline.org.


If you’re interested in joining Neighbourhood Watch, or want to find out more, visit www.sussexnwfed.org.uk or send an email to enquiries@sussexnwfed.org.uk.
 
Message Sent By
Derek Pratt MBE (NWN, Administrator, Sussex)

NHS notification of possible Vaccination Scams and action you can take to help prevent being Scammed

Be Aware of Advanced Fee Scams

We know that clicking links in E-mails may be unsafe. We are quoting some links below, but if you are reluctant to click on these then please feel free to search the web for Scamnesty, which should lead you to National Trading Standards website Friends Against Scams.

This week, Friends Against Scams are looking at advanced fee fraud. This is any letter in which you are asked for upfront payments for goods, services or financial gains that never arrive. Have a look at the infographic above for some examples of this type of scam, and visit the website for more information on: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty #ScamAware

A common advanced fee scam is inheritance fraud. Usually, the letter will tell you someone very rich has died and you’re in line to receive a huge inheritance! Have you received one or heard someone speaking of receiving a letter like this? Send it to Friends Against Scams for Christmas and take part in Scamnesty: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty #ScamAware #Scamnesty

Start a conversation with your friends and family – are you or they receiving suspicious post? Scam mail often claims huge wins or requests for personal details or money. Give the Friends Against Scams team a present this Christmas and send them your scam post to investigate: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty #Scamnesty

Have you received a letter from a stranger abroad asking you to pay an admin fee to help move a large amount of money? You’ll receive a cut if you help right now! This could be a scam. If you or someone you know has received a letter like this, send it to Friends Against Scams for #Scamnesty and do your part to take a stand against scams: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty #Scamnesty 

If you have received a suspicious E-mail then you can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre at report@phishing.gov.uk. They will investigate it and take action where possible.Timely alerts from people like you help them to act quickly and protect many more people from being affected.

Please note: You should not report a crime to the NCSC in this way. If you think you may have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, and live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you should report this to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2020. If you live in Scotland, you should report this to Police Scotland by calling 101.



If you’re interested in joining Neighbourhood Watch, or want to find out more, visit www.sussexnwfed.org.uk or send an email to enquiries@sussexnwfed.org.uk.
 
Message Sent By
Derek Pratt MBE (NWN, Administrator, Sussex)

Be Aware of Clairvoyant Scams

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We know that clicking links in E-mails may be unsafe. We are quoting some links below, but if you are reluctant to click on these then please feel free to search the web for Scamnesty, which should lead you to National Trading Standards website Friends Against Scams.

Friends Against Scams’ focus for this week of #Scamnesty is clairvoyant scams. These are letters that claim you might have an upcoming positive change in your life or that you’re in trouble, but they can help. This is likely to be a scam. Send it to the Friends team for Christmas: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty #ScamAware

Have you received post out of the blue telling you that you need to purchase a ‘lucky’ charm for protection? It could be a scam – send it to the Friends Against Scams team to investigate: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty #ScamAware #Scamnesty

Friends Against Scams would like your scam mail for Christmas! Have you received post saying wonderful things have been seen in your future – all you need to make it come true is to send money or purchase an item? Be #ScamAware and send your scam mail to the team: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty #Scamnesty

If you have received a suspicious E-mail then you can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre at report@phishing.gov.uk. They will investigate it and take action where possible.Timely alerts from people like you help them to act quickly and protect many more people from being affected.

Please note: You should not report a crime to the NCSC in this way. If you think you may have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, and live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you should report this to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2020. If you live in Scotland, you should report this to Police Scotland by calling 101.
If you’re interested in joining Neighbourhood Watch, or want to find out more, visit www.sussexnwfed.org.uk or send an email to enquiries@sussexnwfed.org.uk. Message Sent By
Derek Pratt MBE (NWN, Administrator, Sussex)

How to shop online safely especially this Christmas and Black Friday

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This year, Christmas will be a bit different. Whatever you’re doing, don’t give a fraudster a Christmas or Black Friday treat.

  • When you’re shopping online, make sure websites are authentic by carefully checking the address is spelled correctly. Ideally, type it in rather than clicking on a link in an email, text or post. It’s easy for scammers to set up fake websites that are very similar to the real thing.
  • When you’re paying, make sure the page is secure by checking that addresses begin with ‘https’ (‘s’ is for secure) and there’s a closed padlock in the address bar. An additional word of warning: this means that the page is secure, but the site could still be operated by fraudsters.
  • Many advertisements for items such as gifts, holidays and events on social media and online forums are genuine, but be aware that others are fraudulent. Be extra vigilant about checking that such ads are authentic.
  • However desperate you are to buy that late gift or an item that’s in short supply, don’t pay for anything by transferring money directly to people or companies you don’t know. If it’s a fraud, it’s doubtful the bank will be able to recover or refund your money. If you can, pay by credit card. The same goes for holidays, travel and tickets.
  • Log out of the web page or app when payment is completed. Simply closing it may not log you out automatically.
  • Fake or counterfeit goods are of inferior quality, contravene copyright law and affect the livelihoods of workers who make the real thing. They can also be dangerous to users. Don’t buy them intentionally – however cheap or ‘authentic’ they appear – and do all you can to make sure what you’re buying is authentic.
  • Avoid ‘free’ or ‘low-cost’ trials – whether for the latest handset or slimming pills – without thoroughly reading the small print and trusted reviews. You could be signing up for large monthly direct debits which are very hard to cancel.
  • If a winter holiday or short break is on the cards, check that what you’re booking online is genuine by doing thorough research. Look for independent reviews, and make sure travel agents / tour operators are genuine by checking for an ABTA/ATOL number. Pay by credit card for extra protection.
  • Christmas is a favourite time for scammers to send fraudulent emails, texts or DMs, or post fraudulent offers on social media.
  • At this time of year, with the increase in internet shopping, fake parcel firm delivery notifications are commonplace attachments or links, as are emails and other messages featuring ‘special offers’ and ‘prizes’. Don’t click on links in emails, texts or posts that you’re not expecting, and don’t open unexpected email attachments.

Postal Scam Mail – Beware

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We know that clicking links in E-mails may be unsafe. We are quoting some links below, but if you are reluctant to click on these then please feel free to search the web for Scamnesty, which should lead you to National Trading Standards website Friends Against Scams.

It’s the final week of #Scamnesty. Have you received an unwanted gift of scam mail this Christmas? Take a stand against scams and send it to the Friends team! Head over to the @AgainstScams website for information www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty#Scamnesty#ScamAware.

Use this Winter break to have a talk with your family about scam mail. Criminals will use any opportunity to steal money. If you think a letter that’s been received could be a scam, send it to @AgainstScams to investigate for #Scamnesty www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty#ScamAware.

Happy New Year from Friends Against Scams! 2021 is the perfect time to be more #ScamAware. Talk to your friends and family about any unsolicited post you might receive; does any of it seem like it could be a scam? Send it to @AgainstScams for #Scamnesty www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scamnesty.

If you have received a suspicious E-mail then you can forward it to the National Cyber Security Centre at report@phishing.gov.uk. They will investigate it and take action where possible.Timely alerts from people like you help them to act quickly and protect many more people from being affected.

Please note: You should not report a crime to the NCSC in this way. If you think you may have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, and live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you should report this to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2020. If you live in Scotland, you should report this to Police Scotland by calling 101.



If you’re interested in joining Neighbourhood Watch, or want to find out more, visit www.sussexnwfed.org.uk or send an email to enquiries@sussexnwfed.org.uk.
 
Message Sent By
Derek Pratt MBE (NWN, Administrator, Sussex)