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Help & Info

Reducing Crime, Providing Peace of Mind

Scams and Rogue Traders

Scams and Rogue Traders

For Professionals and Volunteers

Please keep this document handy for reference if a service user asks you for information or advice about scams and rogue traders and to signpost users to organisations that can help.

For further information and support, please contact Charlotte Homent, Community Protection Manager on 01954 284635 or Charlotte.Homent@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Other resources can be downloaded from www.cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/capasp

 

MAIL SCAMS

Advice for Service Users

  1. Don’t reply to unsolicited mail e.g. lotteries and prize draw letters – instead, either return to sender, or send it to the Royal Mail at FREEPOST SCAM MAIL.
  2. Sign up for FREE to the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) on 0845 703 4599 or www.mpsonline.org.uk; this will help stop sales & marketing mail from within UK.
  3. People who have been targeted by scams can become Scam Marshals (see https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/scammarshals), who use their experience to talk to others about scams and/or send any scam mail they receive to the National Trading Standards Scams Team so that it can be used in future investigations and enforcement work.

 

TELEPHONE SCAMS

Advice for Service Users

  1. Never give personal or financial details to cold callers, no matter who they say they are.
  2. Banks will never phone to ask for account details like a password, PIN or card number.
  3. Register for the FREE Telephone Preference Service on 0345 070 0707 or www.tpsonline.org.uk; this will help stop sales & marketing calls from within the UK.
  4. To check whether a call received is from a genuine organisation, call back using the phone number that’s known to be correct, not the one the caller gives. Wait at least 10 mins before making the call, or use a different phone.
  5. An answering machine can be useful for screening calls, as can features like Caller Display or Caller-ID and these have been free since October 2018.
  6. Contact your telephone service provider to see what blocking services it provides for no or low cost e.g. BT Call Protect, Sky Talk Shield, TalkTalk CallSafe or Plusnet Call Protect.
  7. A call blocking device such as trueCall www.truecall.co.uk or CPR Call Blocker www.cprcallblocker.com/ can be useful especially for those with dementia or learning difficulties. Alternatively, if buying a new phone, consider one that has built-in call blocking technology.

 

INTERNET SCAMS / CYBER CRIME

Advice for Service Users

  1. Create strong passwords by incorporating capital letters, numbers, and keyboard characters, and by using at least eight characters. Think Longer is stronger.
  2. Keep web browsers and operating systems up to date.
  3. Have security software installed and keep it updated.
  4. Don’t click on links or open attachments in emails, unless completely confident that the email address is genuine. Instead, visit the organisation’s website directly or phone to check that the message is authentic.
  5. When internet shopping, make sure that the website uses secure technology. The website’s address should begin with https and there should be a tiny, locked padlock symbol at the end of the address bar. Look for a statement on the checkout screen stating that the pages are secured with technology.

 

IDENTITY FRAUD

Advice for Service Users

  1. Don’t throw out anything containing personal or financial details without shredding it first.
  2. If a bank or credit card statement or cheque book doesn’t arrive, contact the company.
  3. Check statements carefully and report anything suspicious straightaway.
  4. Redirect post for at least a year when moving house.
  5. Credit reference agencies like Callcredit, Equifax and Experian offer a service to alert people if there have been key changes to their credit files.

 

CASH POINT FRAUD

Advice for Service Users

  1. If possible, get cash from a cash machine that’s inside a branch, rather than on the street – consider getting cash by cashback if using a debit card in shops.
  2. Take a look around. If someone’s standing too close, just walk away.
  3. It can be very hard to tell if a cashpoint has been tampered with, but, if there is anything obviously wrong, like a loose part, don’t use it.
  4. Always cover the keypad when entering the PIN and don’t make it obvious which buttons are being pressed. Don’t get distracted.
  5. Keep a note of the card issuer’s emergency number in your bag or wallet. If the card is held by a cash machine for whatever reason, call the bank straight away to make sure it can’t be used. If it’s safe to do so, stay at the cashpoint until this has been reported.

 

ROGUE TRADERS / BOGUS CALLERS

Advice for Service Users

  1. Make it a policy not to buy goods or services at the door. A yellow and black ‘We’re Not Buying It’ sticker (available from 03454 04 05 06) can be useful in deterring doorstep callers. Deciding not to answer the door or to speak to someone is not being impolite.
  2. “Lock, stop, chain, check” is useful to remember when someone calls to the door, but keep the chain off the rest of the time in case emergency services ever need to gain access.
  3. Always check ID – a genuine caller won’t mind waiting for this. Some utility companies have password schemes for their vulnerable customers as an extra safeguard.
  4. If work needs to be done, get 3 quotes from tradespeople recommended by friends or family, or through trade organisations.
  5. Consider registering for local ecops alerts at www.ecops.org.uk.
 

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