Don’t be scammed
Scammers are getting increasingly devious in their attempts to get their hands on your money; and it’s not just on the internet.
Recently a scammer attempted to con a man out of £9,000. The man received a letter claiming to be from an international postcode lottery, saying that he had won £900,000. All he needed to do was send them 1 per cent of the winning amount to release the funds. Thankfully the man knew it was a con and avoided being scammed out of £9,000.
Would you have fallen for that trick? Well how about this more intricate scam which cost the victim £15,000. The victim was contacted by phone by a person purporting to be working for BT. They told the victim that his software had been compromised and convinced him to turn on his computer to allow them to access it remotely. When the victim became suspicious the caller changed the story claiming to be from the National Crime Agency. Despite the victim terminating the call the fraudsters were able to remove £15,000 from the victim’s bank account within a matter of minutes.
The police give the following advice, “Fraudsters can be very convincing and forceful on the telephone. We would like to remind the public never to give out any personal financial details to anyone you don’t know over the phone, or allow access to their computer, as banks and legitimate providers will never request such action. If you have any suspicions about the legitimacy of a call hang up. It is recommended that if you call the company back wait 10 minutes to ensure the fraudsters have cleared the line before calling a number you know and trust, preferably from a different phone.”
Free trial scams are also becoming more common. They normally offer a consumer a limited time free trial whereby they only have to pay for postage and packaging. However, when the person gives their payment details for the postage and packaging, they enter themselves into a monthly repayment plan via a continuous payment authority (CPA). This allows the company to withdraw cash from the consumer’s account every month without permission.
Council tax scams are also on the rise. Criminals claim to be from the local council or Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and cold call people to inform them that they have over-paid on their council tax and a refund is due to them but there is a fee to claim this. They may also ask for a fee to either challenge or investigate the change in council tax. Don’t ever fall for this trap. You can check your council tax banding by checking with the Valuation Office Agency for free. Remember – Never give out your personal details to a cold caller.
If you run a coffee morning for pensioners or a lunch club or any group where older people get together then you could find out more about scams and how to avoid them from Nat West’s local community banker, Natalie White. She is based at 130 Lord Street, Southport, PR9 0AE and can be contacted by phone 07855 270 683 or email NATALIE.WHITE@natwest.com. Natalie would be happy to give a free talk to your group which might just save someone from becoming a scam victim.