The Crime Prevention Website

Here’s the latest crime prevention advice sent to me by Stephen Armson-Smith from Essex Police, this time reminding us about the vast array of frauds that are now being committed..........

A scam is a fraud and who is at risk? - we all are!

In fact you are more likely to become a victim of fraud than any other crime. The villains involved are ruthless, care nothing about their victims and do not discriminate. People of all age groups and the vulnerable are all liable to fall victims to this crime and the biggest risk is thinking that it could not happen to me. Programmes like “Hustle” glamorize fraud, but to a victim there is nothing glamorous about being a victim, it can and does destroy people’s lives.

Fraud comes from many directions and in many forms constantly evolving and by no means limited to the few examples I’ve given below:

Postal delivery:

  • Notifications about lottery and holiday wins (you should be suspicious when you have not even entered them!)
  • Sales pitches involving a continued commitment
  • Someone stranded abroad in need of cash
  • Inheritance letters about some relative you didn’t know you had!

ATM and shops:

  • Distraction at the ATM i.e. dropped cash and “shoulder surfing” for your PIN number
  • Devices attached to the ATM to hold your card and/or read your PIN
  • Shoulder surfing at the till in a store followed by a distraction in the car park while you are getting into the car in order to steal your card from within your bag
  • Contactless credit cards can be read by unauthorised readers, which can be prevented by keeping them in foil card wallets available from some banks and online traders.

Telephone, computers and the internet:

  • You are told either by telephone or via an email from a so-called internet provider or you get a pop-up to tell you that you have a virus in your computer and that you need to give them remote access to your computer to fix it
  • You receive a message to say that your telephone bill has not been paid and you’ll be cut off, so need your password account details.
  • You get a message from someone purporting to be a ‘Fraud department’ or the ‘police’ to say that there has been unusual activity on your bank account and they need your account details and password and will be sending a courier around to collect your card(s)
  • You’re informed that you have shares in such and such a company and as they are conducting a hostile takeover they would like to buy yours. Of course there will be a fee and the whole thing will be a fraud

The list goes on and on and I do not have the space to cover them all.

Reporting fraud and further advice is available from Action Fraud or ring 0300 123 2040.

Other sources of advice are: leaflet.pdf  (also available from Essex Police stations).

Lastly, remember if it looks too good to be true then it invariably is!

You get nowt for nowt!

Thanks Steve - a timely reminder!

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