In Hertfordshire around 600 people a month report being scammed through scenarios such losing money through bogus phone calls or letters and internet hacking.Hertfordshire Police have shared some tips to keep safe against fraud and scams.
Scams come in many forms and have themes such as:
- Danger/urgency – your bank account is in danger or something at your home is damaged or needs fixing;
- Offers of help such as from rogue traders calling to offer to do work that will be unnecessary or overpriced;
- Requests for your help such as a friend or relative is stranded and needs money or bogus charity requests;
- A bogus official asking you to confirm your details or saying you are owed money or have a parcel to collect;
- A financial opportunity such as being winning a prize or being in line for some inheritance; and
- Distraction burglary – where a criminal will gain access to a property under false pretences or distract the person whilst someone else carries out the burglary.
To help combat this crime Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has awarded a Community Safety Grant of £260,000 over two years for a scams support and prevention project. TSB has also contributed over £30,000 to Hertfordshire Police’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit (SFCU) for specialist software and hardware to support investigations.
Advice from the police includes:
• For phone calls or emails remember that the police or bank will NEVER ask you to withdraw or move money or disclose your PIN number or passwords. If you are suspicious of a phone call then please end the call and report it to the police, but wait at least five minutes before using the same line or use a different number.
• Never grant strangers remote access to your computer.
• If someone knocks at your door and you aren’t expecting them or don’t recognise them don’t let them into your home. If you are expecting someone ask for identification before letting them in.
• Never pay for products or services provided by doorstep tradespeople upfront. Ask for a written quote and some time to consult friends and family. For a Trading Standards recommended tradesperson call 08454 04 0506 or visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk
• To deter doorstep traders and unwanted callers display a 'no cold callers' sticker in your window.
• Make your home look less vulnerable, as criminals will look for signs of someone vulnerable being at home alone. You can do this by leaving muddy boots or a high-visibility jacket by the front door, ask someone you trust to park on your drive or have items associated with younger people in top windows.
• Sign up to Neighbourhood Watch (www.owl.co.uk) for local information. Senior Watch is another service that helps elderly people specifically. More information on Senior Watch is available by emailing the Watch Liaison Team on or calling Hertfordshire Police’s non-emergency line on 101.
If you fear you or the person you care for have fallen victim to a scam, contact Hertfordshire Police on 101 if a non-emergency. Always dial 999 in an emergency. Further advice is available online at www.actionfraud.police.uk and www.GetSafeOnline.org