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What to do if you think you're being scammed

There has been a significant increase in the amount of fraud and people being cyber-scammed across the UK this past year, especially those who are older.

These fraudsters are very prolific and are sending out thousands of text messages, pre-recorded voice mail messages, emails and phone calls every single day.

The messages are very plausible and are usually from “well-known sources” you would probably use such as the NHS, HMRC, Royal Mail, your bank, DHL or Amazon etc claiming to need you to do something in order to receive your parcel, prescription or money.

These fraudsters spend a lot of time trying to gain as much information on you as possible to try and impersonate you or to impersonate someone you would trust.

There are clear signs however that these people aren’t who they say they are and you can spot these signs yourself if you follow these simple rules:

  • Question everything - Scammers can easily impersonate companies – double check all the time, if you’re on the phone to them keep asking their full name and the company they work for etc. they may make mistakes on this
  • Work in a team - Always ask for assistance if you’re unsure from a friend or family member – if it’s too good to be true it probably is i.e. you’ve won a free holiday for a competition you don’t remember entering etc
  • Take your time - Don’t rush into anything without getting a full understanding of what they are after or saying. Try writing everything down if it helps then take your time to read over it
  • Don’t reply to phone calls, texts and/or emails where you do not know the sender – if in doubt check – these usually end up costing
  • Never call back telephone numbers, emails or texts sent to you – block them if suspicious. If they say they are from a particular company call them back but not on the number they called you on, Google or ask someone else to look up the company’s phone number then ask for them directly, if they haven’t got a record of them, they were fraudsters!
  • If you receive a text from an unknown number – check what the message says but don’t click any links. If the message is on about a package you don’t remember sending/ordering or from a bank claiming you owe them money – block the number straight away
  • If you have been asked to transfer money from your bank– banks won’t ever ask you to transfer money – if you receive a phone call, text or email asking to do so phone your banks branch number straight away, it’s good they know others are trying to impersonate their staff so they can help tighten their security
  • If you get asked to give over passwords, PINS or bank account details don’t – these are personal information for a reason and are not to be shared, your bank will ask you security questions but will not ask for the exact password themselves

If you do receive anything similar to the above remember to always think twice and to take your time to check everything over. You can always send any suspicious emails to  report@phishing.gov.uk and any suspicious text messages should be sent to 7726 which spell SPAM on your keyboard and this is a free call.

If you suspect that you or a family member may have given any personal or financial details you should notify your bank immediately and report this to :  www.actionfraud.police.uk   or call 0300 123 2040.