Hands up if you’ve ever been victim of of a scam!
In my case it was by a guy who knocked on the door of a work premises I rented. He claimed he’d foiled a break-in the night before. Gave me a partial number plate number telling me he scared them away. I gave him a tip to thank him. Even admired his citizenry.
It was only when I called the police shortly after he left that I realised I’d been a victim of a scam. The guy had been wandering around industrial estates in the area giving everybody the same story. Made a few quid, apparently, too.
It only cost me a tenner, so I just put it down to experience and laughed it off, however some get conned for far more than I and when they do it can be extremely embarrassing, leading to many not even reporting the crime once they realize what’s happened.
and unlike when I was scammed there are many more inventive ways to be scammed the digital era we now find ourselves in. Very recently I’ve personally had scam emails, calls and messages, my friends, neighbours and family have all noticed an increase too. Fortunately, none I know have fallen for any, but the number of scams are on the rise.
The most recent I’ve heard of is the scam where the victim gets texts and emails purporting to be Royal Mail notifying customers that they must pay a delivery charge, shipping fee or tax in order to receive their parcel, which links to a bogus Royal Mail website that parts people with their cash.
There’s another scam circulating in the form of an automated telephone call, during which you’re told your “National Insurance number has been compromised”. Pressing 1 if you hear that automated message connects you to a scammer who will try all sorts of tricks to get as much information on you as possible, in order to part you with your cash and savings.
Police in Northampton have reported a con involving crooks offering to make speeding tickets ‘go away’. More than 60 motorists have not only fallen for that scam, losing their money in the process. And to add insult to injury they’re now being pursued by the police for attempting to dodge speeding fines and points on their license.
In January Derbyshire Police warned fake texts were circulating in an attempt to steal personal and financial information, linking to what they called an “extremely convincing” fake NHS website where people are asked to input their bank details to register for the Covid vaccine.
Yes, unfortunately a small minority really can be that scummy they’ll use a pandemic to scam people. There are those who’ll not think twice about conning your Gran out of her pension, and the ways they’re doing it are becoming ever more inventive.
I’ve personally had calls from ladies with lovely voices promising thousands in compensation in relation to “an accident” I was involved in that sound incredibly convincing. I fortunately quickly realize I was actually talking with a computer- generated AI, but it’s not easy to spot it isn’t between a real person – Especially if you’re not aware that technology existed, for instance if you’re of the older generation.
The over-70s, of course, are particularly likely to be preyed on by nuisance callers, so perhaps it is wise to make sure your friends and family, particular those in the older generation, are aware and remain vigilant against scam callers, especially as we are coming out of lockdown and when that happened last year these calls and texts increased.
They come in a wide range of guises. Scam texts and messages often include links to click. Messages such as you need to “Pay Fines for leaving your home during lockdown” – or recorded messages that say “Press 1 to receive the vaccine”, so don’t click on any of these types of links or press any buttons that connect to anybody.
Disregard them all. In the rare occasion you believe one is genuine, especially one from your GP, for instance, call your surgery rather than click links in messages. Same goes with any messages about NI numbers, taxes, fines, delivery fees or charges etc etc.
Ofcom suggest If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to email@example.com. and forward any suspicious text messages to the number 7726, which is an excellent free of charge service.
As I said there’s expectation these scams will be on the rise as we come out of lockdown and one can only assume with a vaccine now available, more scams will circulate in the coming weeks and months, so try and raise awareness in your community that the problem is increasing, and outline the ways to avoid being a victim of these awful people. I’m doing my part, you do yours..
And lastly, just in case you’re wondering, no, the email you got from that Nigerian Prince isn’t going to make you a millionaire, it’s HIGHLY unlikely the tax office or any government entity will let you, let alone WANT you to pay anything in Bitcoin, and that £59 bottle of pills probably isn’t going to make anything slimmer, thinner, thicker or bigger, okay!
A good diet and regular exercise, is probably best for that.
Before you go….
There’s never been a more important time for independent journalism, or a worse time to get paid for it. I don’t get any advertising money at all at the time of writing.