Fraud newsletter - June 2021
"Each month we see many incidents of fraudsters targeting our residents in an attempt to defraud them. We’re working hard to prevent this and support vulnerable victims of fraud or scams. By following our tips and encouraging family, friends and colleagues to do so too, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim." - T/Detective Chief Inspector Rob Walker, Surrey Police & Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit
As the weather improves and lockdown restrictions lift, we expect to see an increase in incidents of doorstep crime.
The phrase ‘doorstep crime’ includes distraction burglary, bogus callers, rogue traders and unscrupulous salespeople.
It can take many forms, including pressure selling, overpriced or substandard home maintenance or improvements and fake consumer surveys.
A 76 year-old man living alone in East Sussex received an unsolicited visit at his door from a man offering garden and driveway services along the victim’s street.
The victim agreed to having his driveway washed for £200, but soon realised the job was escalating when the men started trimming bushes, hedges and scraping moss from the roof, which he did not initially agree to. As a result, the men charged £2000, which the victim felt forced to pay.
The victim handed over some money in cash, and the man claimed to be doing the victim a favour by taking cash and not charging any VAT. No receipts or confirmation was exchanged.
The victim realised he had been victim of a scam and contacted the police.
A 82 year-old woman living alone in North Surrey found a company to redo her garden lawn. She asked for a quote, and paid some cash upfront to start the work.
The victim was then told the quote had increased due to the difficulty of the work. She was pressurised into handing over more cash, then the man claimed he needed to hire a truck for the work and asked for more money.
This made the victim suspicious and she refused to pay any more. She never heard from the man again. Unfortunately, she also lost £300 and the work on her garden wasn't completed.
Protect Yourself From Unwanted Callers
- Be vigilant about anyone who comes to the door asking for personal or financial information. Never give your bank details, transfer money to those you don't know or trust or give your PIN number or other sensitive information to strangers.
- If you are in doubt about a situation, close the door and call police. If something doesn't sound right, don't feel pressured to make a snap decision on matters relating to your finances. Trust your instincts.
- Check your actions with a trusted friend or family member and get their advice on whether you should go through with any action that could impact you financially
Volunteers Week: 1st-7th June
This Volunteers Week, we wanted to recognise the fantastic volunteering work being carried out to support fraud victims on behalf of Surrey Police and Sussex Police.
The Volunteer Fraud Prevention Programme was launched in Sussex in 2019, and has recently launched in Surrey with 7 new recruits. Volunteers give up their time to support victims of fraud and offered tailored advice to prevent repeat victimisation.
The volunteers have shown commitment, hard work and dedication to the role, and we are extremely proud of their contribution. We want to say a massive thank you to all of our volunteers on behalf of both Surrey Police and Sussex Police.
We have received reports of WhatsApp accounts being hacked. Fraudsters send messages asking victims for a verification code, which they send the victim by text. It allows them to access the victim’s WhatsApp remotely and log the victim out. They then use the victim’s account to ask family and friends for money and continue hacking other accounts.
- Never share a verification code with anyone.
- Block unknown numbers without replying or providing personal information.
- Remember officials from WhatsApp will never ask you to provide private information via WhatsApp messages, texts or a phone call.
Census Text Message
Have you received a text telling you that you haven't completed your 2021 census correctly?
Don’t click on links unless you can verify where they came from. If in doubt, keep them out. Text messages should be forwarded to 7726, a free-of-charge short code that enables your phone provider to investigate the origin of the text and take action, if found to be malicious.
How you can help us?
If you or someone you know is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud please report online.
Report fraud or attempted fraud on the Action Fraud website or call 0300 123 2040.