Scams are becoming increasingly clever so you should always be on your guard!

If you are ever in any doubt about the veracity of a phone call or when someone knocks on your door purporting to be a salesman or trader then just politely end the call or visit and let the police know. We run a regular editorial strand called 'Scam Alert' in our bi-annual newsletter but have decided to introduce an online page to report on any scams you make us aware of.

So if you have fallen victim to a scam or narrowly avoided one then let us know (see the bottom of the page on how to contact us) and we will publish it on this page.

Friends Against Scams

We are pleased to be an organisation member of Friends Against Scams which is run by the National Trading Standards scams team - you can find out more about them on their website friendsagainstscams.org.uk

UPDATE: 2nd July 2020

Thanks to one of our volunteer befrienders for sharing this scam with us which involves the scammers ringing up pretending to be police officers who claim they've arrested someone with the same name as the victim and that there has been a fraud taking place on their bank account. They then ask the victim to withdraw cash for collection by a courier. This was reported recently in the Hertfordshire area and one of our beneficiaries almost fell victim to it. You read a bit more about it here https://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/news/hertfordshire-news/hertfordshire-constabulary-issue-warning-after-4239744

UPDATE: 15th June 2020

The COVID-19 situation has sadly generated a lot of scams. But we've been recently advised of the following one purporting to be from the NHS 'Track & Trace' service which we've shared as follows:

“Good morning, I'm calling from the NHS track and trace service. According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested postive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test.”

“OK. Can you tell me who that person was?”

“I'm not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.”

“Right. Um... so...”

But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?”

“Ok (gives address)”

“Thank you - and I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalise this and send the kit to you.”

“Sorry - a payment card? I though this was all free?”

“No - I'm afraid not. There is a one-off fee of £50 for the kit, and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you're ready.”

“No - that's not right. This is part of the NHS so there's no charge.”

“I'm afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please - this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.”

Puts phone down.

This is how scammers work. And vulnerable people will fall for it. Don't fall for it...

UPDATE: 4th April 2020

News reaches us of a scam doing the rounds in the South West of England where scammers contact older people to offer to carry out shopping for them, take the money and then don't return with the goods!

So please be extra vigilant throughout this period and only engage with someone who is affiliated to a recognised local community project, supermarket or charity. Don't let the scammers win!!

UPDATE: 26th March 2020

Sadly the current COVID-19 Crisis has seen a huge increase in the number of scams so please be extra careful.

You can help protect & prevent people from becoming a victim of scams by taking the online scams awareness course created by Friends Against Scams (run by the National Trading Standards scams team) which is on their website friendsagainstscams.org.uk

LATEST REPORTS

Tips for beating the Scammers

Having noticed the item Scam Alert in the latest Fellowship News, I thought it might be helpful to pass on a couple of tips:

First, I have joined my local police force's crime prevention email list. I receive regular email circulars, including advance warning of any scams and scammers active in my area, and can report any activity myself. Check your police force website for a similar facility.

Second, I have installed a call filter device on my phone line. I originally obtained this when my partner was showing signs of dementia, so that only calls from approved contacts would be received and there was no chance of her being taken in by a scammer. Anyone else gets diverted to an answering machine where they can be screened at leisure (and usually a scammer does not leave a message).

Personally, I can deal with scammers. I even had one trying to tell me there was a warrant out for my arrest (there isn't!). What I hate is being disturbed unnecessarily by the phone, and the filter ensures I am not (the best £100 I have ever spent). My unit is made by trueCall (beware imitators or similar names), and similar technology is built into some BT phones (Call Guardian). Now I just need something similar for my door bell (so it only rings when somebody I want to press it does).

Sent in by Mr K Wood

Dealing with Scammers

I am writing to let you know how I deal with the problem. My number is ex-directory, and I have caller display and don’t answer any calls marked ‘unavailable’ or ‘international’.  I also tend to ignore any calls that show ‘withheld’. Rogue numbers that do manage to get through are recorded and reported to BT. So, if you are in any doubt – Don’t Answer! It is a sad reflection on society today that such steps must be taken but it is necessary, and I heartily recommend it!

Sent in by Mr G Palin

Cash Extortion

Some time ago first thing in the morning I had a phone call which purported to be from the fraud squad. It told me that someone had been taking money out of my account at the bank and that I should go to bank and draw out a couple of thousand in cash. The voice asked how long this would take and I told them around an hour. So, I did as I was told. When I got home the phone rang and the person told me to put the money in a white bag, go the end of the road and I would see a white van. I was to tap on the driver’s window and put the bag by the front wheel. It was at that point I realised it was a scam and I contacted the police. But before the police arrived a young man came to my home and asked about the white bag with the money in it (although he beat a hasty retreat when I told him the police were on the way).

Sent in by D Morrison

Bank Fraud?

A few months ago I got a phone call from a man said he was a policeman in London, and gave a name. He told me that someone had committed a fraud on my bank account. I asked which bank, (as I use two) and he carried on talking. I told him I would ring my bank and he told me that I could ring a detective (Whose name I cannot remember now) as he was on the case.  I kept him talking and insisted that I would ring my bank and he kept pushing me to ring this detective and gave me a number to ring.  Eventually I said “I am not happy about this".  He replied "Neither am I";    I thought "No you won't be, because I am not playing."   I then put the phone down and rang both of my banks and they agreed that I had done right as it would have been a scam. I don't know if anyone else has received these calls or maybe we all realised it was a scam, and that they would ask for more details if we had rung up, and perhaps inadvertently given them information that we should not have done.

Sent in by Mrs. S.A. Shippey

HMRC Calls 

I have just read the article on Scam Calls in the recent Autumn Fellowship News, and by coincidence had the day before received a recorded phone message purporting to be from HMRC, warning me that a case was about to be raised against me for non-payment of tax. It invited me to speak to them urgently on 020332894474, which of course I didn’t do. This is the second time I have received this, apparently bogus, message. You may be interested, as I imagine, should HMRC.

Sent in by Norman MacLeod

USEFUL RESOURCES

Independent Age publish a helpful guide to how to handle scams called 'Scamwise'. The guide is free to order by calling them directly on 0800 319 6789 or you can download it by clicking here

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have a regularly updated warning list to allow you to check an investment or pension opportunity and avoid scams. You can view it by clicking here

CONTACTING US

If you want to let us know about a scam you've encountered you can call us on 020 8691 7411 or email [email protected] or write to: The CSRF, Unit 11, Pepys House, Greenwich Quay, Clarence Road, London SE8 3EY