Scam Week Launched

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12 May 2014

Scam Week

Monday 12th May 2014 marks the launch of a national campaign to promote awareness around fraud. Over the coming days Cheshire Police, along with forces across the country will look to highlight prominent fraud threats, encourage people to report fraud using the right methods and provide advice as to how the public can protect themselves against fraud.

Fraud can have a major impact on the life a victim. This impact is normally monetary, but there can also be an impact on confidence and trust which can create longer-term problems.

Every year more than three million people in the UK fall victims to scams losing hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds. It is estimated that nearly half of people in the UK (48 per cent) have been targeted by a scam. Scams are a big issue but worryingly only 5% of scams get reported.

Simply put, scams are schemes to con you out of money. There are thousands of different scams and they often start with a fraudster purchasing your data.

Often terms and conditions include a clause which allows companies to sell your data on. This is a perfectly legitimate practice but problems can arise when details are purchased by criminals posing as a legitimate organsiation intending to defraud you.

DC David Stott of Cheshire Police explains: “A data trail is often created when an individual agrees to share their data.  This can be initiated by an individual processing an application online, entering a competition or subscribing to a service.

“Typically you can’t proceed unless you agree to accept the terms and conditions (which generally involves you allowing your personal information to be shared). This information can then be purchased by both legitimate businesses AND criminals whose purpose is to defraud you.

“The criminal element will most likely be part of a large organised crime networks operating call centres with hundreds of staff, using customer management systems, web based telephone numbers and regularly rotating bank accounts opened using false identities.

“These networks of criminals are often referred to as “Boiler Rooms” and use their systems to target people with a specific scam such as a fictitious job offer or an advance fee based fraud. “

“Our advice is to realise that people who make contact with you are not always doing it for legitimate reasons and just because they have your data it doesn’t mean they are a reliable source or intend to use it to benefit you.

“Be vigilant and be as economical as you can about passing your personal details across to unknown sources, in particular bank account details.”

If you feel that you have been a victim of fraud, you should always report it. Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, is the place for you to report fraud and scams, or to get advice if you're not sure what to do. You can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud

DC Stott added: “We would ask anybody who thinks they may be a victim of fraud to report it. Anyone can become a victim of fraud. Action Fraud receives fraud reports from people of all ages and from all parts of the country, including from those who thought it could "never happen to me".

“There really is no shame in becoming a victim, and the best thing that you can do is speak out about it by reporting it to Action Fraud and help protect other people from becoming victims themselves.”

For more information please visit:

http://www.cheshire.police.uk/advice--information/fraud.aspx

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Alternatively contact by phone Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

 

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