Welcome to the second edition of the Derbyshire County Council Scams Awareness Bulletin
July 2017 - Edition 2
This bulletin gives details of scams that council staff have been made aware of in recent weeks. We'll publish new editions of this bulletin as and when instances of local scams are reported. Please feel free to share this bulletin far and wide - you can send it to colleagues, family members or friends as it is a public bulletin.
Local scams - let us know
Have you heard about a phone, postal, email or doorstep scam that's been happening locally? Or maybe you've come across an online scam or a copycat website.
Let us know so we can share the scam in the next Scam Bulletin to warn others.
This bulletin will be sent out periodically based on demand.
Scams Awareness Month
July is Scams Awareness Month
The Scams Awareness Month campaign is all about supporting partnerships nationally and locally to give people the skills and confidence to identify scams, share experiences and take action by reporting suspicious activity.
Citizen's Advice are leading a public awareness campaign and have a dedicated scams awareness month website giving the public information and advice about scams.
They have also developed resources such as posters, flyers and postcards which can be downloaded from their website.
Citizens Advice and other local and national organisations will be raising awareness about scams on social media channels throughout the month. Get involved by using the hashtag #scamaware
Local Scams Awareness Month Event at Ripley Market
P3 Charity, Derbyshire Adult Care, Trading Standards and other local partners will be providing information about scams to the public at Ripley Market on Friday 28th July. P3 will be coming along in their 'Big Bus' which they use to put on information roadshows. Call by the market and say hello!
Scams you've told us about
In the first edition of the Scams Bulletin we asked you to send in details of any scams you've experienced recently. Here's what you told us:
HMRC - phone scams
Person one: ''I have received automatic messages left on my landline claiming to be from the HMRC saying I owe them money and to avoid them referring it to the legal section and accruing further charges, I need to press a number on my phone. I put down the phone and call the HMRC national number and they confirmed they would never contact people in this way and the phone calls weren’t from them. I imagine that if I had gone ahead and pressed the number on my telephone keypad it could have charged me a significant amount of money via my phone bill''
Person two: ''I received a phone message from tel: 02038073161 claiming to be the HMRC. It said there was a court case pending against me for arrears. I rang HMRC and they said they hadn't tried to contact me and it was a scam''
HMRC - tax rebate scam
A Derbyshire Care Home has recently received an unsolicited visit from an individual claiming to act on behalf of HMRC. The visitor gave their name as ‘Gill Baines’ and explained that the visit had been triggered because a Care Assistant at the home had applied to claim tax relief for the washing of uniforms and purchase of shoes. The visitor said that HMRC had tasked him with visiting local establishments to request that all staff members complete a ‘Tax Claim’ form in order to process any tax rebates due.
HMRC were contacted who advised that it was extremely unlikely that this individual was operating on their behalf. HMRC said they believed the individual was linked with a third party company who sought to profit from processing tax rebate requests on half of individuals. The HMRC representative reiterated that there is a straightforward process for individuals to complete and submit tax rebate forms personally, without the need for assistance from a third party.
Person one: ''I received an email today stating that my PayPal account had been closed due to an attempt at unauthorised use, and then asking me to verify it again by clicking on a link. I don't have a PayPal account. I frequently have similar emails purporting to be from Amazon.''
Person two: ''I received an email about problems with my Tesco bank account. It seemed to have a genuine email address but it must have been a scam as I don't have a Tesco bank account.''
''I recently received a call from someone who claimed to have a contract for the maintenance and repair of my television. I certainly do not have any such contract but allowed the caller to continue. The caller went on to tell me that I was paying too much and that they would be able to offer my a price reduction. He gave me details of the supposed reduction and went on to ask for my debit card number and security digits. I informed him that I did not have a contract and that he was making a mistake or more likely trying to falsely obtain my card details and take money from my account, and wanted to go on and tell him my opinion of his crime but he hung up very quickly.''
Bank card reader scam
''An elderly lady I know received this digital card reader (pictured) in the post from what she thought was the Royal Bank of Scotland. She wasn't interested in using it and put it in the cupboard. A few days later she got a call from someone claiming to be from the bank asking if she'd received it. She told the caller she had and was planning to take it back to the bank as she didn't want it. The 'very nice man' told her that she didn't have to do that and he could cancel it for her over the phone. All she needed to do was put her card in the machine and enter her pin number - which she did.
''The next day she checked her bank account and all her money had been taken.''
Derbyshire Constabulary mail scam warning
Derbyshire Constabulary are reminding Derbyshire residents to be wary of receiving scam letters.
The reminder comes after several residents in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales areas have contacted the police with concerns about a letter that urges them to claim a cash lottery prize. On one occasion, the recipient called the phone number on the letter as instructed and was asked to provide £1500 to ‘insure the cheque’ before sending.
The Police have now released an image of the letter in a bid to demonstrate what a letter like this may look and read like, and to help prevent anyone from losing money through the same scam.
Sergeant Denis Murphy, who is charge of the Safer Neighbourhood policing teams in the Buxton and Chapel-en-le-Frith areas, said: “Several letters like these have been brought into the police enquiry office in Buxton and we are aware of others which have very similar claims, but make use of the logos and names of legitimate companies.''
“There are strict rules for lottery games both in the UK and across the world to ensure they are fair, however there are people out there who will use the allure of a large amount of money to try and commit fraud. Please don’t be fooled.”
“The best advice is to never respond to letters like these and to never reveal your bank details or pay fees in advance to release your prize. If you have responded and given your bank details then alert your bank immediately and notify the police or Action Fraud.”
Arrests made in UK over Microsoft scams
Four people have been arrested in the UK following an investigation into scams involving calls from fraudsters pretending to be IT support staff.
It follows two years of work by City of London Police and Microsoft, who teamed up to tackle the problem.
The perpetrators commonly pretend to be phoning on behalf of the US company.
The scammers usually declare that they have detected a fault with their target's PC and fool victims into giving them remote access to it. They then often install images that appear to show the computer is infected or install malware themselves.
Finally, they demand a fee to fix the issue or otherwise convince the victim to share their bank account details.
You can find out more on the BBC website.
There were 34,504 computer software service fraud reports made to the UK's national fraud and cyber-reporting centre, Action Fraud, over the past financial year.
- People of any age can fall for a scam but lonely older people are much more likely to be scammed than younger people.
- In Derbyshire the average age of a mail scam victim is 76 and 90% have recently been widowed or live alone. Bereavement, isolation and loneliness are common factors.
- Typically less than 5% of scams are reported.
- £5 billion - the estimated amount lost each year in the UK to scams.
- People who’ve been scammed repeatedly may feel stress, anger, shame and upset which can be severe and debilitating.
Reporting scams and getting advice
Get advice from Citizens Advice Consumer Service, tel: 03454 04 05 06 or visit: www.adviceguide.org.uk
Report scams and suspected scams to Action Fraud or tel: 0300 123 2040.
Send potential postal scams with a covering letter to Royal Mail at FREEPOST Scam Mail, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 03456 113 413.
Report unsolicited marketing calls to the Information Commissioner's Office or tel: 0303 123 1113.
Register phone numbers with the Telephone Preference Service or tel: 0845 070 0707.
The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is free and can help reduce unsolicited mail by calling 0845 703 4599.
Contact the Age UK Derby and Derbyshire Information and Advice Line on tel: 01773 768240. Age UK also have a downloadable guide on recognising and dealing with all kinds of scams.
Derbyshire Scamwatch is a project funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire. The aim is to raise awareness, particularly amongst older residents, of the potential harmful effects of mass-marketing, internet, doorstep and telephone scams and to provide one to one advice and support where potential scam/fraud victims are identified.
Tell a trusted friend, relative or neighbour.
Support for victims of scams
Age UK Derby and Derbyshire can provide help and support for older people and their carers if they've been affected by a scam or rogue trader. Local residents can call the helpline on tel: 01773 768240. Age UK also have regular information roadshows at events around the county.
Think Jessica is a Derbyshire-based charity set up to help and support people affected by scammers and also to highlight the effects on victims.
Free and confidential help to victims of crime and anyone else affected, Derbyshire Victim Services CORE 0800 612 6505 or Victim Support 0808 1689 111.
The Derbyshire Trusted Befriending Network aims to help isolated and vulnerable adults find befriending services. For more information email email@example.com or tel: 01283 219761.
Avoiding pension scams - Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon gives advice.
BT Call Centre scam - Cornwall man explains how he was fleeced out of £10,000
Citizens Advice research - 1/3 of people have been affected by scams from unsolicited phone calls.
7 ways to spot and online shopping scam - a million people in the UK fell victims to online shopping scams last year.
Want to receive future editions of the Scams Bulletin
If you wish to receive future editions of this bulletin and Adult Care newsletters, you can sign up by managing your subscriptions or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org