Telephone fraudsters use well-rehearsed stories, designed to gain their victim’s trust. For example, they pretend to be police officers who have just arrested someone using a copy of your bank card and alerting you that your money is in danger, or pretending to be from your phone or computer service provider and claiming that there is a problem with your system that they need to fix.
Fraudsters often claim to be officials and can seem very genuine but you should always bear in mind that callers may not be who they claim to be, even if they already seem to know details such as your name and address.
Genuine police or bank staff would never ask you to withdraw or transfer cash from your account, nor would they ever ask for your four digit bank PIN number. Never tell anyone this number, it is for you to use in cash machines and shops only.
Genuine computer firms will not call unexpectedly to help fix your computer. Fraudsters make these calls to try to gain access to your online bank account or to trick you into paying for something you didn’t need or to damage your computer with harmful software.
The most common type of fraud affecting older residents in Sussex is "advance fee" fraud, where fraudsters persuade victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods or financial gains that do not then materialise.
Beware of anyone asking for money in advance. For example, fraudsters may claim that you are entitled to PPI compensation or that you are to inherit money from a relative but you need to pay legal or administrative fees first. Genuine firms don’t ask for this, it is likely to be a scam.
If you’ve already been a fraud victim, beware that fraudsters may pretend to be lawyers or police claiming they can help recover your money.
What can you do to protect yourself?
· Be sceptical of callers, even those who claim to be officials.
· Don’t be afraid to put the phone down with a brief ‘No, thank you’.
· NEVER give personal information, such as your date of birth or bank details, to unexpected callers.
· NEVER allow an unexpected caller to talk you through processes on your computer, like downloading new software or accessing your online bank account.
· Remember that the police or your bank would NEVER unexpectedly call you and ask you to withdraw cash or move your money to another account, as a result of fraud or any other reason.
· If callers suggest you call your local police or bank to check who they are, use another phone or ensure the line has been fully disconnected by phoning a friend or relative first, or by waiting at least 3 minutes, otherwise you may think you’ve phoned a number but you’re simply talking to the fraudsters again. This is a common fraudsters’ tactic.
· If a caller asks you to type your bank PIN number into your telephone handset - do not do this, as fraudsters can use technology to identify the numbers.
· You can opt out of many cold calls by registering for free with the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707.
Stopping nuisance calls with call-blockers
We are committed to reducing the risk of telephone fraud and have protected a number of the most vulnerable people across the county by assisting in the installation of call-blockers. trueCall devices work by ensuring that only trusted callers already known to the user can get through and this company is accredited by Secured by Design. Unrecognised callers are asked for their identity before they are put through to the recipient, meaning that unknown or ‘cold’ callers can be refused.
You may be interested in finding out more about call blockers if you know someone vulnerable who is being plagued by nuisance and scam calls. If you do purchase trueCall, please provide consent for the police to collate any intelligence you may gain of the nuisance callers. https://www.truecall.co.uk/#
We are supporting a national warning about the need for residents to be alert to a growing fraud in which criminals pose as police officers or bank staff and ask their victims to take part in a fake undercover operation or some other ruse. There were 114 cases in Sussex in the year to the end of September. 47 succeeded in defrauding local people of a total of £419,414. 96% of victims are over 60, and over half live alone.
Operation Signature is our campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud across the county. Fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, and much of it is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people.Our advice on how to avoid this fraud includes;
We’ve had a number of tools stolen from work vans in Wealden over the past few weeks and are again encouraging owners to remove their tools overnight, where possible. Always make sure the vehicle is locked and secured, even when working close by. The majority of this type of crime is opportunistic, and occurs because tools have been left on view or the vehicle left insecure. It only takes 10 seconds for your valuable items to be stolen. Consider parking works vehicles with the rear doors positioned tightly up against a building, wall or fence, and in a well lit area. If parking your vehicle at home, it’s worth considering installing security lighting or even a CCTV system. For further advice on vehicle crimes, or other crime prevention, visit the ‘Advice’ section on the Sussex Police website.
How to avoid the driving licence scam
The DVLA is warning drivers of an insidious new scam that plays on the fact that it
has recently abolished the paper counterpart element of the driving licence and transferred its services online in an attempt to streamline its services.
What is the scam?
Drivers receive an email, telephone call or text message telling them they must verify
their driving licence by logging onto the DVLA's website and paying a fee. Failure to do so will, they are warned, result in their driving licence being suspended leaving them unable to drive. Anyone clicking on the link is taken to a website that looks very like the genuine DVLA one. Here they are prompted to reveal their driving licence number and enter a credit or debit card to make the unnecessary payment. The money is then taken out, and then the card number is then passed onto other fraudsters. A variation of the scam involves fake DVLA email, text message or phone call, only this time it is aimed at drivers aged 70 or over who are renewing their driving licence...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !