Scams and Frauds

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Scams and frauds are a problem in rural and urban areas - but in the current climate, with additional isolation, some people may be more vulnerable. It may be helpful to check with elderly or otherwise vulnerable people in our communities whether they have experienced any approach that may be a scam and to hlp make people more aware of some of the fraudulent approaches that are being made. Of particular concern are doorstep scammers who may pretend to be from an official body with particular powers to enter or gain details, or pretend to be a volunteer offering to buy shopping. Hopefully in our rural communities the latter will be less of a problem as people are more likely to already know those volunteering in their village, but approaches to people living on their own or away from other dwellings may be more of an issue.

The following links and guidance give information on what types of scams are operating, how to stay safe and how to report them if you have been targeted.

Wide ranging advice from Devon County Council

https://www.devon.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-in-devon/document/scams/

Clear and helpful article from Citizen's Advice. 5 ways to avoid scams. The first three are:

1. Do your research

Scams today are more sophisticated than ever before. Scammers will appear like a trusted business or government official. They will have a professional website and they’ll say all the right things. Take your time to work out if this is a real organisation. Ask them for ID or contact the organisation on a number you know and trust. If you’re still in doubt, Google the name of the company and ‘scam’, to see if any horror stories come up.

2. Don’t click on unknown links

Whether it’s an offer for a coronavirus testing kit or a refund on your holiday, never click on unknown attachments or links. Scammers prey on our health and money worries by sending us links to offers that appear too good to be true. Criminals use links to capture personal information or download viruses onto your devices. Both of which can result in financial or identity fraud.

3. Be suspicious

Don’t take anything at face value during this time. Common scams at the moment prey on the fact that we’re more vulnerable than ever. We’re worried about our families, health, money and work. It will take us longer than usual to realise something isn’t right.

Read the rest of the article here:

https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/5-ways-to-avoid-online-coronavirus-scams-40a5843d1ecb

A very helpful list of coronavirus specific scams provided by Get Safe Online

https://www.getsafeonline.org/news/coronavirus-scams-you-should-be-aware-of/

An example of a coronavirus specific scam reported by Toprridge District Council who say:

Watch out for scams! Reports that few residents received an email allegedly from TDC saying they were due Council Tax rebate & to click to enter bank details. Not us & we would never provide a click link-don't give out bank details unless you are 100% sure who you are talking to.

Further websites, articles, advice and information on scams