"Each month we see many incidents of fraudsters targeting our residents 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 Simon Doyle, Surrey Police & Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit
Software Service Scams
Sussex and Surrey received 214 reports of Software Service fraud in the last year relating to vulnerable victims.
Computer software service fraud occurs when fraudsters posing as legitimate companies, such as your broadband provider, Microsoft etc contact you by telephone, email or pop messages to tell you that there’s a problem with your computer or router which needs fixing. They might say that they can fix the problem for a fee, or alternatively they can compensate you for the problem you are experiencing.
In one case a 76-year-old Male from East Sussex reported having issues with his computer whilst shopping online. The victim’s computer was freezing when a pop-up message appeared on the screen suggesting the victim ring a telephone number for tech support. The victim called the number provided and was asked to provide remote access to his computer so that they could fix the problem. The victim followed the callers’ instructions which led to the fraudster gaining full control of the victim’s computer. The fraudster was then able to access the victim’s online banking account where they transferred £590 to another bank account.
How to protect yourself:
Legitimate companies such as Microsoft will never ask you for remote access to your computer or devices
Do not download software or apps on the request of a caller
A genuine service provider will never call you out of the blue regarding computer issues
Be wary of pop-up messages that may appear on your computer or devices suggesting you call a telephone number
If you receive a call like this, hang up. ‘Take Five’ and verify via a trusted method
How to keep your devices safe
Over the Christmas period many of us may have been gifted, upgraded, or brought in the sale a new device such as a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet. It is important that all your devices are fully protected and used safely to protect you from fraudsters who may try to hack your devices or manipulate you into giving them access to your devices so that they can steal your personal data and even access your finances.
Make sure your device has reputable anti-virus software. Without these, your device has no defence to identify or block infections
Make sure you make regular backups of your data and information
Always update software and applications when prompted. Don’t ignore prompts and
reminders to update all your devices as they contain important fixes which will help keep hackers out. You can make things simpler by activating automatic updates
Turn on 2-Step Verification. 2-Step Verification adds an added layer of protection by asking for more information to prove your identity
Sussex and Surrey Police have seen multiple reports of fraud in relation to various Amazon scams being conducted by fraudsters.
Fraudsters may contact you claiming to be from Amazon asking for you to pay a subscription fee, claiming there is a problem with your Amazon account or asking you to act urgently due to an unauthorised purchase on your account.
In one case a 77-year-old Male from Banstead reported receiving a telephone call from someone claiming to be from Amazon. The caller explained that the victim was owed a £95 refund for an Amazon Prime subscription overpayment and that they would process a refund immediately. The caller then explained that they had accidently refunded £9500 instead of £95 and asked the victim to transfer the £9500 back to a given bank account. The victim did this believing a genuine mistake had been made but later realised he had been scammed as no refund had been made.
How to protect yourself:
Remember, if you received correspondence regarding an order you weren't expecting, you can verify orders by logging into your Amazon account. Only legitimate purchases will appear in your order history - and Customer Service is available 24/7 to assist
Don’t open attachments or click on the links within any unsolicited emails you receive, and never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details
Never part with your financial details at the request of an unsolicited caller
Sussex Police have seen a number of recent reports in relation to bogus locksmiths targeting victims.
Please be aware of bogus locksmiths and only use companies you have used before or companies someone you know, and trust has recommended to you.
You can also use the Master Locksmiths Association website to find a trusted locksmith : www.locksmiths.co.uk
Remember, always ask for ID. If you suspect the ID might be fake, take the time to establish their identity by calling their employer
Say No. Never feel pressured to say yes and do your research. A passing trader can provide you with their details, where you can then look them up and seek advice from someone you trust.
Criminals may use excuses to enter your home to steal or charge inflated prices for ‘repairs’. If someone you don’t know offers to do work at your property or sell you goods, say ‘no thanks’ and shut the door.
Suspect you or someone you know has been victim to a scam?