Keeping safe from Scams

This week KVIN staff and volunteers had a session with Angela Cawthra from West Yorkshire Trading Standards SAFER project. We learnt about different scams that are common at the moment in Kirklees and got some tips to help people keep safe from them.

Here is a summary of what was covered;

Mail in the post;

  • MAIL/PRIZE DRAW SCAMS: These scams tell people that they have won a large cash prize, but are asked to send a fee or call a premium rate telephone number to receive it. These calls can cost £5 a minute

  • CATALOGUE / BROCHURE SCAMS: Scammers send out literature selling a variety of different products including food, beauty products and items for the home or garden. They guarantee prizes to those who order, but they never send the prize. Instead, they send out more false promises to get more orders. These scams are known to be operating out of the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Switzerland.

  • FAKE LOTTERY SCAMS: You receive a letter stating that you have won the lottery and all you have to do is send an admin fee of £10-15 and you will get your money. Next after you have paid your admin fee you will then receive another letter stating you have missed that draw but if you send another admin fee you will receive your improved lottery win. They will continue to ask you to send more money and they will sell your details on to other scammers.

Protect Yourself from Nuisance Callers

The TPS (Telephone Preference Service) should stop unsolicited UK marketing calls. Register your landline and mobile telephone numbers by calling 0345 070 0707. It’s free to register on online at www.tpsonline.org.uk.

  • CONTACT YOUR PROVIDER: Contact your telephone provider and ask them about what call blocking service they have available. On mobiles text the number to 7726.

  • CALL BLOCKING DEVICES: These are devices which you attach to your landline phone to block nuisance calls. They are available at high street stores. Beware of scammers selling fake devices or asking for monthly payments.

  • PERSONAL INFORMATION: Be careful who you give your contact details to. When you need to provide them make sure you look carefully at the marketing “opt-in” or “opt-out” boxes. Remember not to give your banking information or PIN to anyone – not even the bank will ask for this.

On-line tactics used by scammers

  • CYBER CRIME: This is a type of crime that is committed using information technology such as a computer or network.

  • MALWARE:Software which is specifically designed to disrupt or damage your computer. It could be a phone call or text saying there is a problem.

  • SOCIAL ENGINEERING:A method of manipulation which gets people to reveal personal information about themselves. Telephone surveys or on line quizzes are types of social engineering.

  • PHISHING:An attempt to get your personal information using emails. Don’t click on links.

  • VISHING:An attempt to try and collect your personal information over the phone. Don’t give personal information over the phone just hang up.

  • SMISHING: An attempt to gather personal information using texts.Don’t click on links, Delete the text or report to 7728

Avoid Rogue Traders and Bogus Callers

  • ROGUE TRADERS: These are dishonest tradespeople who often turn up unannounced. They may leaflet an area before making doorstep calls and often offer roofing, gardening and handyperson jobs. The work may be unnecessary, done to a poor standard and overpriced. Remember; Obtain 3 written quotes before choosing a trader, don’t pay any money upfront, particularly in cash and only pay for work once it has been completed and you are satisfied with the job.

  • BOGUS CALLERS: These are people who try to con their way into your home to steal or trick you out of money. They often pretend to be from a professional company such as your energy or water provider. They may say they are conducting a survey or pretend to be an old friend. Remember: You don’t have to let anyone into your home, Check other doors and windows are locked before answering the door so no one else can sneak in, use a door chain, spyhole or look through a window, ask for ID and call the number stated on your bill or in your phonebook to check the identity of the caller.

Register for the password scheme with your utility companies and Council – NO PASSWORD NO ENTRY. This means you dont let anyone in unless they have the passwrd which means you know they are who they say they are, particularly useful if you struggle to see if ID badges.

  • TELEPHONE APPOINTMENTS: Some companies may contact you by telephone to make an appointment to visit you in your home. Although less intrusive than knocking on the door, this is still a cold call and you shouldn’t feel pressured into making a decision. Remember: Ask a friend or neighbour to be with you if you arrange an appointment with someone over the phone, don’t be afraid to say no, on the telephone or on the doorstep, if you spend over £42.00 you have 14 days cancellation rights for goods or services bought in your home and receive a contract giving you cancellation rights. Report bogus callers to the Police on 101 or 999 if you feel threatened by the caller.

Where to get help and advice

Report complaints or concerns Citizen Advice Consumer help line on 0300123 2040

Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040

Telephone Preference Service: 0345 070 0707 www.tpsonline.org.uk

Mail Preference Service: 0207 291 3310 www.mpsonline.org.uk

Report emails to Action Fraud: report@phishing.gov.uk

The key messages West Yorkshire Trading Standards and KVIN would like to pass on are;

  • DON’T click links in emails! Stop and think first.

  • If a phonecall makes you feel unsure, HANG UP. You can always call the company after 30mins wait to check if it was legitimate.

  • If someone comes to the door and you are not sure, say no and CLOSE THE DOOR.