The lockdown has seen scammers having a field day with a host of new, complex and imaginative scams emerging, wreaking damage not just financially but emotionally too. Victims report feeling violated and stupid to have been taken in and in turn this damages confidence and trust. It’s worth remembering some scams are highly effective because they are so very, very good and so being taken in is understandable.
So, what do you do to avoid those that seem so determined to part you from your money? We know there’s a lot of information about scams but most of it is online and you have to go looking for it. If you talk to your friends and neighbours, many will have a story of a scam that is circulating and hopefully that knowledge stays with you when you receive the next dodgy call, email or text and allows you to act accordingly and stay safe. 
We know that Chimes is hand delivered to all homes in our villages and most people read it so we thought this might be the perfect way to bring you some basic advice on staying safe and update you on some of the scams circulating. 

Over the coming months we’ll aim to cover the scams that come via the phone, email and text and also the ones from callers to your own front door.
There are some basic golden rules and so keep these in mind whenever you receive a call, text or email – in no particular order:

Your bank or the Police will NEVER ask you for your PIN. 
Your bank or the Police will NEVER ask you to move money to a safe account, even if this account is just another account in your name. 
Your bank or the Police will NEVER offer to visit you to collect cash or accompany you to a cash machine.

NEVER click on a link in an email or text even if it appears to come from a provider you trust. 
Sadly, scammers can easily make it look like the communication has come from a legitimate source. Links provided will often go to fake websites that look amazingly like the real thing! They’re just there waiting for you to input your username and password!

If you receive a call claiming to be from your bank offering advice, a warning over fraudulent activity etc, tell the caller you’ll ring them back and then hang up. Call your bank on the number on the back of your bank card and no other. 
ALWAYS MAKE THIS CALL FROM A DIFFERENT PHONE in case the scammers are keeping the line open. Alternatively make another outgoing call to a number you trust and ensure it is answered. This will clear the line safely.
It’s very easy when you’re told you might have been a victim of fraud, to want to act quickly but TAKE YOUR TIME and think it through. No bank will ever pressure you to do something in haste. 

DO NOT REVEAL PERSONAL INFORMATION such as birthday, address, bank details etc. 
Scammers will often fish for random info to help build a more complete picture.
IF IN DOUBT about any unusual request, call a trusted friend or relative and run it past them first.

Two scams to be aware of this month particularly –
Amazon calling to say your account has been used to purchase an expensive item (TV, phone etc). You’re encouraged to visit a site so the caller can guide you through how to stop the transaction.  They are very believeable! BUT AMAZON DO NOT MAKE CALLS OF THIS KIND AT ALL! HANG UP IF THE CALLER CLAIMS TO BE FROM AMAZON.

Next is the NHS scam offering you a Covid vaccine or certificate but it asks for payment. REMEMBER the NHS DOES NOT CHARGE FOR COVID VACCINES OR CERTIFICATES. Neither will they ask for bank details or ask you to email proof of ID.

ActionFraud is the Government agency charged with tackling these types of crime. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, you can report it by forwarding the email to: report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages can also be reported by forwarding them to the number: 7726 (it’s free of charge).If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk where you’ll also find more info on fraud and scams.