Fraudsters target the vulnerable, engaging with them in phone conversations before convincing them to part with money. They use various tactics that appear plausible to trick, dupe, and scam their way into a victim's bank account.
This is a repeat problem across Surrey that primarily targets vulnerable people within the community. It consists of a telephone call being made by someone pretending to be from the police or bank, asking the victim for bank card details, including PINs in order to prevent fraudulent activity. The criminals will then arrange for a courier to pick up the cards. The cards will then be taken away for “evidence” or to have it "destroyed". Fraudsters will access the bank account and take money.
Pension scammers promise to convert pension funds into cash before retirement, or in some cases they may suggest people can take more than 25% of their pension pot as cash. What fraudsters are offering is too good to be true.
When someone who has been a victim of fraud in the past is contacted again by fraudsters. They pretend to be a government, police or law agency that can help recover the money that was lost, but ask for a fee to get it back. The fraudster will disappear with the fee.
A cold call from someone pretending to have an opportunity to invest in a variety of schemes or products that are either worthless or don’t even exist. Investments in Energy, Rare Earth Metals, Diamonds, Artwork and Wine are often suggested with fraudsters pointing you in the direction of professional-looking websites and brochures in order to convince you.
How to protect yourself, or someone you love from phone-enabled fraud
- Only known phone numbers should be answered.
- Don’t give personal details, bank cards, or money to someone you don’t know.
- Organisations such as Police, Bank or Trading Standards will not ask for bank details or PIN over the phone.
- If you’re asked to call someone back, hang up and wait 5 minutes before calling back or use a mobile phone.
- Investments should only be made through a legitimate financial advisor, not through a cold-caller.
- Stickers from the Trading Standards fraud sticker pack can be put on telephones, cheque books and computers as a reminder not to give out details. You can pop in to your local police front counter to collect one or request one from Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06
- trueCall provide hardware that can block unwanted telephone calls including nuisance and scam calls.
- Registering with the Telephone Preference Service can reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive. Registration is completely free. Call them on 0345 070 0707.
Keeping your identity safe
Anyone who shops on the internet or uses cards for transactions is potentially susceptible to identity theft.
Reduce your chances of falling victim
- Keep personal documents in a safe, lockable place
- Shred unwanted documents such as old bills and bank statements
- If your passport, driving licence or other important documents are lost or stolen, contact the issuer immediately
- Cancel lost or stolen cards immediately
- Check your bank and credit card statements carefully. Report any suspicious transactions to your bank.
- Use passwords with a combination of letters, characters and numbers
- Memorise passwords and PINs, and never keep a copy in your purse or wallet
- Use different passwords or PINs for different accounts
- Change passwords regularly
- Ensure you have up to date security and a personal firewall installed on your computer
- If you receive a suspicious email asking for personal details, do not respond. Visit Banksafeonline for further advice
- Only conduct transaction on secure websites (look for the padlock)
- Never use a public computer to access personal information.
Where possible, remove yourself from mailing lists.
When moving house:
- Inform you bank and other card issuers immediately
- Arrange for Royal Mail to redirect your post to your new address for at least a year.
Keep a regular check
Request a regular copy of your personal credit file from a credit reference agency. This will show if someone has applied for credit in your name.
Report suspicions to ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the online fraud reporting service 24/7.
The little book of big scams is a guide on how to avoid some of the most common scams, produced by the Metropolitan Police.