People often get in touch with us to share examples of scams they have experienced. Scams are always changing and evolving in the hope that people will be caught out.
Some general good practice to avoid being scammed, whether on the doorstep, on the telephone or by letter:
• Don't be pressured into doing anything immediately. Take time to think about what you are being asked to do, or what you are being offered.
• Offers that seem too good to be true, generally are!
• If you are interested in buying goods or services, do your own research and get more than one quote from reputable traders.
• Never give out personal or financial details to unsolicited callers.
• Do not click on links or download attachments from unsolicited e-mails, even if they look like they have come from a trusted source.
• If you are concerned that an e-mail, call or visit you have received may have been a scam, speak to friends and family about it.
• Report it! http://www.actionfraud.police.uk
For your information, below are some real examples of scams which have been experienced by Neighbourhood Watch members in Scotland in the past few weeks:
A coordinator in Dumfries & Galloway received two separate e-mails, looking completely different, both asking him to update his BT account.
One looks quite professional, while the other is perhaps quite obviously a scam. Hovering over the links in the more professional looking one reveals a strange destination, however.
Scams like this want you to follow links to websites where you will often be asked to enter login information or other details. Don't do it. Always access websites like your bank or shopping sites by going through a link you trust.
A coordinator in North Ayrshire alerted us to 'reminders' he was getting from Tesco about unclaimed reward vouchers. He received these periodically, with the amounts increasing each time. He eventually contacted Tesco and they confirmed it was a scam.
If you receive this type of e-mail from Tesco or another retailer, do not click on the links. If you are concerned about e-mails you have received, contact the retailer directly and ask about it.
In Dunfermline last month, some NW members received an e-mail, seemingly from a person they knew, telling them that he was stranded abroad and needed money. The person had not sent the e-mails - their account had been hacked.
This scam relies on the familiarity of the e-mail sender and the plausibility of the story.
- To prevent someone accessing your e-mail, use strong passwords.
More info: http://www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/passwords/
- Even if an e-mail appears to be from a friend, check with them before carrying out instructions which require you to disclose personal details or send money
- Don't advertise the fact that you are on holiday beyond those you trust. If you use social media, ensure that your privacy settings only let your close friends see holiday posts.
'Road Traffic Accident Department'
A coordinator in Edinburgh was contacted by phone by someone claiming to be from the 'Road Traffic Accident Department'. This is a long running scam where people are told they are 'entitled' to compensation for an accident they had in the last three years.
Again, the scammers are looking to get your financial or personal details, either to access your bank or to use your identity fraudulently.
As ever, don't give out personal or financial details to unsolicited callers.
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