• Protect your bank account
Never give out your personal bank details, passwords or PIN numbers.
Be extremely wary of any unsolicited phone calls, emails and letters pretending to be from your bank or other financial institution which asks you to confirm your personal details, passwords and security numbers. Your bank will never ask you to reveal this information, so don’t give it to anyone else. Dispose of all bank and credit card statements and anything else which contains your personal details, using a crosscut shredder; or tear them into small pieces. If you notice any unexpected transaction or purchase on your statement, report it to your bank or card issuer as soon as possible.
• Protect your phones and computers Keep your security programmes (antivirus, anti-spam) up to date. Never reply to unsolicited texts, eg texts referring to accident claims, even to get them stopped. Just delete the message. If you receive an unsolicited text or email, even from someone you know, which contains link to another website, delete it immediately and do not open the link.
You may receive a text message or advert inviting you to enter a competition for a valuable prize or similar message asking you to text a special number which charges an extremely high rate for any messages you send. Do not reply, just delete these messages. A similar scam is when you are invited to call a premium rate number to claim a prize (for example a number beginning 0906). There is no prize but you will be delayed and kept on the line for as long as possible. Do not phone back to claim such prizes. Restrict the amount of personal information you disclose when online.
• Beware of offers for wonder products, miracle cures, prize draws, free holidays and wondrous gifts for which you have to pay in advance, register interest by giving banking details or confirm (supposedly known) personal information. If they exist at all, these products and services are not likely to be what they seem. Any such products and cures are unlikely to comply with safety standards set by the UK or EU. Ignore and discard such offers. Remember… If it seems ‘too good to be true’ it probably is!
In life you get nowt for nowt – beware of anyone who says differently. If you think you have been the victim of a trickster, don’t be embarrassed, report it! Contact ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at actionfraud.org.uk Contact the police if the suspect is known or is still in the area. For further information an audio, ‘easy read’ and E-booklet is available at the Metropolitan Police website www.met.police.uk/site/fraudalert November 2015 3