BEWARE OF SCAMMERS
Not long ago I received an alert from Thames Valley Police in our Chiltern and South Bucks area, about a telephone fraudster, who was trying to trick residents into revealing personal banking details. The Twitter message ended with #scam and rightly so.
The fraudster was claiming to be a PC or DC Clark from the Metropolitan police. He told the people he called that hundreds of pounds had been charged to their Visa account. It was quite elaborate because it involved providing a fake police shoulder number and crime reference.
The advice from TVP Chiltern and South Bucks was straightforward – to end the call immediately and to report the attempt to Action Fraud on 0300 1232040 or go to www.actionfraud.police.uk.
When I was discussing this with one of my team, she told me that she had received several automated telephone calls that week, purporting to be from BT. Although it was a pre-recorded message voiced by an American, it was followed by personal calls, again from overseas. This scam announced that the broadband hub had been compromised. Being canny, she had hung up but did not know at that point what to do next.
BT themselves have also published advice on how to contact Action Fraud – because, if you think you have been called by scammers, even if you have not been a victim of fraud, the information you give can help to catch the criminals operating these scams. In July, information given by members of the public to Action Fraud resulted in the conviction of a group of investment scammers who stole £1.7 million from their victims.
So, keep the Action Fraud number handy. These calls are a nuisance and there is serious intent to trick people. The same member of my staff took a call trying to get her to extend a warranty on a non-existent gas boiler. But other scams might not be so evident!
[This article was previously published in the Bucks Advertiser and Examiner]