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Fraud and scams

Neuro Café 26th January 2022 by Linda S

Conor welcomed everyone and introduced Richard Chiltern who is a money skills trainer at Citizens Advice Hammersmith & Fulham. Richard gave us a detailed and interesting presentation on different types of Fraud & Scams - what they are, how fraudsters operate and what to do if you think you have been a victim.

Please visit the LEGS members' page and read Richard’s presentation slides which are interesting, informative and useful.

What is a scam?

Richard defined a scam as being a quick profit scheme by cheating. Scams are estimated to have cost £184 million last year.

Types of scams

Scams come in different forms and they keep changing over time. Scams can occur via telephone, internet, mail or door-to-door.

Doorstep scams include distraction burglars and new builders. There are also Covid related scams. Other subjects include Council Tax Reduction, Grants, help to apply for Universal Credit, Fake Cures, NHS Test and Trace.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is easy and your personal information is of use to fraudsters. Scammers can get hold of personal information to build up a picture and pretend to be you... this is a thriving market. To avoid this - keep your personal private and do not share information

  • Consider Cifas registration for extra checks when applying for products or services. There is a fee though.

  • Keep your personal documents safe.

  • Report any suspicious activity to your bank.

Fraud and scams via phone or online

Internet and phone scams may include messages posing as anything from ‘a friend in need’ to HMRC to online accounts or a bank. If you have a doubt then phone back the organisation on a trusted number (e.g. if somebody calls saying they are from HSBC, go to the HSBC website, find their number on their website and call them back).

Beware of a sudden demand to do something very quickly and of cheap deals for renewals e.g. washing machine insurance.

Look for 'https' and padlocks in the web address which show secure encryption and if not present can be a sign of a fake website.

Seasonal online fraud such as offers around Christmas, Valentine's Day, Black Friday etc. exist..where you might be asked to pay in advance via bank transfer, for goods and services that simply do not exist.

Scammers take advantage of weaknesses in your personal security e.g. if you use the same passwords for multiple accounts. Information can be gleaned from social media posts about birthdays (so try not to use these as they are easy to guess), photos of car number plates, holiday photos which show you are not at home. Remember that online, 'once posted, always posted'.

Have your OS (Mac Operating Server) and antivirus software up to date. Do backups of your data. Register for free with Telephone Preference Service.

Reporting fraud

  • 159 is the number to call for bank fraud.

  • Report any scams as quickly as possible.

  • This is a new scheme.

  • Do report scams, the more that are reported, the more the chance they can be stopped. have removed 70,000 scams across 130,000 URLs. if you live in Hammersmith & Fulham.

Q. If I am on a new website, should I accept cookies?

A. It is usually safe to accept. Information from cookies is kept on your browser. Tracking cookies can pick up what you did on a previous website. Not unsafe usually but they can be irritating.

Conor thanked Richard for a very informative session. For more information please see Richard’s slides in the Members area. The final slide has useful details on how to report scams and fraud.

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