People in Derbyshire are being urged to take five minutes to pass on safety advice about how to avoid scams and frauds.
Take Five Week is a national campaign aiming to make people stop and think when they are asked for personal details.
And on Tuesday officers are urging people to take five minutes to talk to five different people about how to keep themselves safe.
Detective Inspector Debbie King, who leads Derbyshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “Keeping yourself safe can seem like a daunting prospect – but by keeping a simple, memorable phrase in mind then the chances of becoming a victim are far lower.
“Whenever you are asked - whether on the phone, via your computer or in person – remember ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so.’.
“Fraudsters will often target the most vulnerable members of society and it is important that everyone helps spread the message about how to stay safe.
“Taking just five minutes out of your day to make others aware could make the difference between someone becoming a victim and not.”
The three key pieces of information to pass on are:
A genuine bank or organisations will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. You should only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead of engaging with the approach, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number. If you do call make sure you ring from another phone or wait for at least three minutes before ringing the new number, ensuring you hear the dialling tone, to make sure the other party has hung up the line.
DI King said: “If you are concerned that you, or someone you may know, may have been a victim of a fraud you should contact your local police force on the non-emergency 101 number or by contacting Action Fraud on 0300 123 20 40.”
In the last three months of 2017 the most prevalent fraud types in Derbyshire were in line with the national picture and officers are working hard to support victims and bring criminals to justice.
These frauds are:
Computer update fraud: This is where a criminal will ring posing as a Microsoft engineer stating there is a problem with their device and try to get the victim to divulge their computer passwords, banking passwords and other sensitive data. The victim can then be locked out of their own device and their passwords used to empty their various accounts.
- Legitimate officials from large companies will never contact you over the phone in this manner.
- Hang up the phone, do not give them any information and report the attempt to Action Fraud.
Criminals posing as police officers: Criminals posing as police as officers have been contacting victims stating that they need help catching bank staff who are acting illegally. The victim is tasked with going into the bank, saying nothing about the plan to the bank staff and withdrawing a large sum of money, which they are told will be fake notes. They are then told to return home and a courier will collect the “fake cash evidence” from them, then pass it on to a police officer. In fact, the money is passed to a criminal and then disappears.
- Police will never contact you to be part of an operation of this kind.
- If you are contacted by someone purporting to be from the police, either the constabulary that deal with your area or another force, ask for their details then hang up the phone, use a different phone or ensure you hear the dialling tone before calling back on 101 and ask to speak to the force in question.
Advance fee fraud: This type of fraud asks people to put a deposit down to secure an item, services or financial gains. The classic type of this kind of crime is known as a West African letter or 419 fraud. This is where a large sum of money is being held and a payment needs to be made to release the funds. In fact, there is no money and the fraudster, if paid, will often return to the victim for more and more cash.
- If you receive a letter or correspondence of this kind do not reply.
- Do not click on any links in the scam email.
- Do not reply to the email or contact the senders in any way.
- If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.
- Do not open any attachments that arrive with the email.
- Instead report it to Action Fraud here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/asov
Online shopping and auction site payment fraud: This fraud sees those who are using online shopping sites moved away from using the legitimate payment methods, such as Paypal, and instead paying directly into bank accounts or by other means.
- If you are purchasing items online never move away from the legitimate payment methods used by the sites you are using.
- If you feel that a deal may be too good, or the price is far lower than the market level, reconsider your purchase.
- Always look at the sellers past history and comments – while this is not fool proof it will give you a good idea about the trust in that seller.