“Essex Police Fraud Alert System” or EFAS for short
If you or someone you know is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud, please call Essex Police on 101.
Report fraud or attempted fraud by contacting Action Fraud at or call 0300 123 2040.
We regularly receive alert messages from the police and will post them here to keep you informed. Out contact is:
Prevent & Protect Fraud Officer
Essex & Kent Serious Crime Directorate
Rayleigh Police Station
Danske Bank Scam
It has been reported to a U3A member of an extremely sophisticated scam going about this morning. Definitely Danske bank customers but possibly all banks. You get a message saying a payment hasn’t been taken eg O2 and to click here. As soon as you touch it the money is gone. They appear to already have all your details and it’s the most advance scam the bank has ever seen. This is reported by a person working at a Danske bank - they are being inundated with calls - thousands flying out of peoples accounts! Please be careful not to click any unexpected links in emails or links you are not sure of. Best to call the bank independently on a phone and number you know is correct and seek advice.
On the DANSKE bank website it says "We're aware of a rumour currently circulating on WhatsApp, text and social media - which claims that Danske Bank customers are being targeted by a particular text message (smishing) scam. The content of this message is false. We're not aware of any message which is specific to, or targeting, our customers.
However, smishing scams are really common. If you receive a message requesting personal information under the pretence of needing to make a payment, do not click on the link or provide the information which is being requested, as it will go straight into the hands of a criminal.
Anyone who has shared information after receiving this type of message should contact us, or their bank immediately. What ever the situation PLEASE TAKE CARE WHEN DEALING WITH UNSOLICITED COMMUNICATION OF ANY KIND.
As you might expect, scammers loose no time in exploiting the current Covid-19 situation. Please be very aware if you get any communication mentioning Coronavirus This is advice from Action Fraud Pandemic scam
With the current weather, with high winds and heavy rain, be wary of rogue traders cold calling and offering to replace fencing, missing roof tiles etc. Never accept a doorstep offer to complete work.
Please be aware that rogue traders can and do still appear on sites like ‘Trust a Trader’ or ‘Checkatrade’.
Use traders who you trust or have used before, alternatively Trading Standards have a ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme – please use this website in order to find traders that have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards.
Watch this video from Trading Standards: Cold Callers Video
Direct Debit/Automatic Payment Scams
Numerous websites offer ‘Free Sample Offers’. Whilst we all love a freebie, make sure you pay attention to the small print when you sign up. Many of these offers will request you bank details on the pretext that you will not be charged.
However, often you may be signing up for a direct debit agreement. The website may then be taken down, removing all trace, but still taking the payments.
This can be relevant to legitimate sites as well. On the subject of dating sites, and any website that requires you to sign up, ensure you always read the small print - BBC News – Dating Website ‘Scammed me out of hundreds of pounds’
LCF (London Capital & Finance) Scam
London Capital & Finance (LCF) bondholders should be wary of messages inviting them to discuss compensation about LCF.
Such messages are being sent through various online and mobile platforms and targeted at consumers who might have a claim regarding LCF. Do not respond to such messages nor engage in any way with the source. FSCS is aware of these scams and reports them to the appropriate agencies. In particular, beware of such messages:
via WhatsApp, Messenger, or posted on Facebook
linking to unfamiliar websites
phone calls from strangers or friend requests from unusual profiles
claiming to be from FSCS.
For more information, please see the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – FSCS Failed Firms - LCF
If you have any concerns about any communications you may have received about LCF, contact the FSCS Enquiries team via their contact page.
Amazon Prime Scams
Unsuspecting members of the public are targeted with automated calls which tell them a fraudster has used their personal details to sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription. The victim is then instructed to press 1 to cancel the transaction. When they do this, they are directly connected to the real scammer who poses as an Amazon customer service representative.
The criminal tells the victim the Amazon Prime subscription was purchased fraudulently and that they need remote access to the victim’s computer in order to fix a security flaw that will prevent it from happening again. The victim is instructed to download an application called Team Viewer and asked to log onto their online banking account. The software download grants the fraudster remote access to the victim’s computer and allows them to see the victim’s personal and financial details.
Other variants of the crime involve victims being told they are due a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account or telling victims their subscription will be ‘renewed’ for £39.99. The call will then say that you should ‘press 1’ to speak with an ‘account manager’.
Do not press 1, simply hang up immediately. Amazon will never contact you in this way, and the call being completely unsolicited should also set off alarm bells.
Unsolicited requests to remote access your computer should always raise a red flag, as once in to your PC they can gain access to all your personal data. If you’ve receive an unexpected phone call, or other communication, stop and take a minute to think about whether an organisation would get in touch with you out of the blue in this way. Instead, contact them directly using a known trusted email address or trusted phone number. Never use a telephone number supplied by the caller or an email address. Never divulge personal details/data over the phone.
Explanation of types of offences
This document from the Prevent & Protect Fraud Office, Essex and Kent Serious Crimes Directorate based at Rayleigh Police Station covers some of the more prevalent offences and scams that they are seeing. We have been asked to make this known to our members. Further alerts will be issued over the coming weeks.
This document covers Courier Fraud, Investment Fraud, What is a Rogue trader/Doorstep Criminal?, Recovery Scams, Romance Scams, Latest HMRC Scams and Latest TV Licence Scams. You can view the document by clicking Explanation of Types of Offence
COUNCIL- EMERGENCY WATER WORKS – SCAM
We have had recent reports of a bogus caller pretending to be a surveyor from Thurrock Council .
Thurrock Council will never operate in this manner by doorstep caller or telephone call. If you are approached in this manner (or by post) please contact Thurrock Council to confirm validity of the request. Thurrock Trading Standards can be contacted on 01375 652477
Essex Police Crime reports
Essex Police encourage all Watch members to read through and think about all the incidents within the below/ attached crime reports. You may be able to provide Essex Police with additional information regarding an incident.
You may reside, work, walk , travel or visit family or friends in or near the areas where incidents have occurred.
Were you in the area on that day, around that time?
Did you see any suspicious activity?
Did you note a suspicious person or vehicle?
IF you noted any suspicious activity in relation to the reports then please call Essex Police on 101.
Make a note of the incident reference number and quote this when calling.
(If you have information in relation to a suspicious vehicle, please make note of the Make, Model, Colour and index number if possible).
Please do not feel that you will be wasting police time. The information you provide may proof useful in an investigation.
Remember to tell the Call taker that you are part of a Watch scheme and be proud that you are looking out for others.
If you have any queries your local Essex Watch Liaison Officer will be only to please to assist you.
SCAMS Don't get caught out
PLEASE BE VERY CAREFULL WITH UNSOLICITED PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS. DONT GIVE ANY MORE INFORMATION THAN THEY ALREADY HAVE.
BEST TO JUST HANG UP FROM THE START OF THE CALL IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS.
See also ESSEX POLICE NEWS