Age Cymru is today urging people across Wales to be vigilant and to protect themselves from email scams.
The warning comes after we received an email claiming to be from a US Army soldier serving in Afghanistan, offering us a share in the $16.2 million proceeds of a crude oil deal.
Age Cymru’s Elder Abuse Project Manager, Louise Hughes says:
“Scams can seem very convincing but they’re all designed to do one thing - and that is to steal your money.
“In this instance, the scammers are using a very elaborate cover-story to create a seemingly plausible (but far-fetched) scenario where the email sender is trying to gain the trust of the recipient.
“The sender will build up a relationship with the recipient before offering to transfer money into their bank account.
“Once the recipient reveals their bank details – to allow the supposed money transfer to take place, the email sender will clear out the bank account and steal the recipient’s money.
“Cover stories are a very common part in email scams and if you receive anything like this in your email in-tray – such as someone claiming to be the widow of a former head of state of a banana republic wanting to transfer money into your account, then the alarm bells should be ringing.
“Remember, if it seems to be good to be true – such as a complete stranger contacting you from abroad, out-of-the-blue, offering you a share of millions of pounds, then it probably is a scam.”
Age Cymru’s top ten tips to avoid scams:
• If it seems too good to be true, it generally is too good to be true;
• If you haven’t entered a competition, you can’t have won a large cash prize;
• People who are genuine do not ask for money in advance;
• If you are unsure, or it doesn’t feel right, don’t respond – throw it away, hang up the phone and don’t reply to texts or emails;
• Nothing bad will happen if you don’t send a so-called psychic any money. They send the same letter to thousands of people telling them the same thing;
• Offers of large amounts of money from abroad are only made to get you to send them to your bank and personal details so they can steal from your account;
• Speak to a friend, relative, local Age Cymru or Consumer Direct if you are concerned about mail you have received;
• If you are being pressurised to buy on the telephone it is okay to say no and put the phone down;
• Responding to one item of scam mail can and usually does result in up to a hundred items of this kind of mail being sent directly;
• Reduce the scams you receive – join the Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing Preference Service (listed in your telephone directory);