Stanway in Colchester

FRAUD ALERTS

30/3/2020 - Beware of Coronavirus scams- criminals see the current situation as a golden opportunity to relieve you of your money or steal your identity.

  • Beware of texts or emails informing you that due to Coronavirus measures you are due to receive a payment, or are being fined for breaking restrictions. These usually have a link that leads you to genuine looking websites which are intended to steal your bank details. Always treat such correspondence with suspicion and check with someone you trust before responding.
  • You may have heard this elsewhere, but it is worth repeating. It appears that there are unscrupulous individuals knocking on residents' doors, pretending to represent the NHS in doing on-site tests for Covid-19. Using this pretext, they are trying to gain entry to people's houses and distract them whilst an accomplice steals items of value.

Please help protect our more vulnerable residents by warning them not to allow anyone like that into their homes and to follow official advice (as obtained via www.gov.uk) or via 111

  • There have been reports of people pretending to be from the British Red Cross or other support organisations, knocking on the doors of elderly and vulnerable individuals, taking their money to do shopping – and then not returning.
  • There have also been reports that cards are being put through doors with the British Red Cross branding, offering help. British Red Cross are NOT utilising a postcard system currently in connection to Covid-19 and any distribution of these cards locally needs to be reported via 0808 223 1133.

Please share and make sure your neighbours and any elderly/vulnerable relatives are aware.

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Cybercrime – criminals are able to target more people through the use of technology, by tricking them into taking some form of action that can lead to loss of money, investments or identity. Don’t be a victim, read the articles and links in this section to learn about the latest scams and how to protect yourself.

Email scams - see Guidance - Email scams

Phone scams - see Guidance - Phone scams

Get Safe Online is a public / private sector partnership supported by HM Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors. Click on the link to get access to a wealth of detailed information on protecting yourself and your electronic devices.

OTHER ADVICE FROM ESSEX POLICE:

Rogue Traders

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

Romance Fraud - Have they stolen your heart? Make sure they don’t steal anything else – make sure you know how to protect yourself with online dating, see the Romance fraud poster in the sidebar.

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 your 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, see this article on BBC News

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.

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 clicking on Action Fraud or calling 0300 123 2040.