Don’t get caught out….scammers are getting personal.
Most of us have heard of someone who has received or been affected by a scammer. Scammers may contact you via email, text, phone call or via social media. They will often pretend to be someone (or an organisation) you trust. They are getting more personal and personal believable with their messages. Here in the Vale Community Trust’s Advice Centre in Wantage, we are troubled by how these scams are conning local people out of their much needed money. By imitating reputable police, banks, HMRC etc. or by impersonating family members, these messages are designed to trick even the hardiest amongst us. The Oxfordshire County Council have put together the above 12 SCAMS of Christmas, please do share this with your family and friends.
If you know anyone who has been affected by a scam please do get in contact with us, we are here for free advice and support.
How to spot a SCAM email, text, message or call:
Scammers try to quickly gain your trust. They aim to pressure you into acting without thinking.
If a message or call makes you suspicious, stop, break the contact, and consider the language it uses. Scams often feature one or more of these tell-tale signs.
Is the message claiming to be from someone official? For example, your bank, doctor, a solicitor, or a government department. Criminals often pretend to be important people in your life (son, daughter, parents etc) or organisations to trick you into doing what they want.
Are you told you have a limited time to respond (such as ‘within 24 hours’ or ‘immediately’)? Your family member needs cash sent to them urgently. Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.
Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, or play on your emotions to gain support, or tease you into wanting to find out more.
Is the message offering something in short supply, like concert tickets, money or a cure for medical conditions? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.
Are you expecting to see a message like this? Criminals often exploit current news stories, big events or specific times of year (like tax reporting) to make their scam seem more relevant to you.
How to check if a message is genuine
If you have any doubts about a message, contact the organisation directly. Don’t use the numbers or address in the message – use the details from their official website.
Remember, your bank (or any other official source) will never ask you to supply personal information via email, or call and ask you to confirm your bank account details. If you suspect someone is not who they claim to be, hang up and contact the organisation directly. If you have paper statements or a credit card from the organisation, official contact details are often written on them.
Read more here on the National Cyber Security Centre’s website