- Local Government
As part of Scams Awareness Month, This week is focused on Telephone Scams. Copied below is an article from Citizens advice Bureau giving some very useful advice on how to deal with those nuisance telephone calls sent to me from the Neighbourhood Watch team:
Hang up on telephone scammers say Citizens Advice and Trading Standards
Consumer charity, West Berkshire Citizens Advice, and West Berkshire Council Trading Standards are urging local residents to hang up on telephone scammers. According to national figures, nuisance phone calls or texts account for 29% of all reported scams.
Investment fraud - Such scams are also called “boiler room” scams due to the high pressure sales techniques used by fraudsters who cold-call their victims and try to sell them shares or carbon credits.
Courier scams - People may receive unsolicited telephone calls from fraudsters who pose as police officers or bank officials and warn victims that their credit or debit card has been used fraudulently or that their card is due to expire. The fraudster will then arrange to attend a person’s address or send an innocent courier company driver to collect the card and sometimes provide them with a fake “replacement” card.
Software scams – fraudsters often claim to represent well-known companies such as Microsoft, in order to commit their crimes. One common tactic is for the fraudster posing as a computer security expert to call people at home warning of a risk to their computer security. Victims are then asked to validate their Microsoft software by sending their credit card details or they are asked for their email address so that they can be sent an attachment to “resolve” the security problem.
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) scam
Scammers cold-call people, stating that they are owed thousands of pounds in Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) which can be refunded in return for an upfront fee. Sometimes scammers will ask clients to pay this fee via Moneygram or Ukash.
West Berkshire CAB saw two clients who were cold-called by PPI scammers. One client was told that he was owed £2800 and if he bought £280 of Ukash vouchers, a courier would collect these and give him a cheque for the full refund. The second client was told that he was owed £4881and this could be released if he paid 25% commission ( £1100) in two instalments via Moneygram. Fortunately both clients contacted CAB before parting with any money and the scam was averted.
Avoiding telephone scams – top tips
Your bank or the police will not ask for your PIN nor call at your home to collect a bank card.
Feeling pressured by a persuasive telephone caller? Just say: “No thank you,” and hang up.
Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.
You do not need to pay a firm to get a PPI refund, you can do this yourself for free by contacting your bank directly. The Citizens Advice website has information.
Cutting down on unwanted contacts
Cut down on unwanted calls by registering with the telephone preference service. TPS Registration Line: 0845 070 0707 or via the website: www.tpsonline.org.uk
You could also consider using telephone call blockers, which screen out unwanted calls. Reputable suppliers of these machines include:
True Call www.truecall.co.uk
Call Blocker. www.cprcallblocker.co.uk
How to get advice or report a scam
You can get advice and report a scam to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06. You can also get advice on the Citizens Advice website on www.adviceguide.org.uk
Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to help stop it happening to others.
Next week’s advice is on doorstep scams