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Force urges people to stay alert to scammers

30 Nov 2017

To mark Computer Safety Day (30 November), we are encouraging people to be alert to scammers.

The force is encouraging people to ‘stop, think, talk, protect’, and to remain vigilant to phone scams, fake emails and fake websites.

The new campaign is a continuation of work started in the summer, when officers from the force’s Cyber Hub ran a number of advice sessions and worked with partner organisations, including Trading Standards and Neighbourhood Watch, to help spread the message to the public.

Officers are hoping to encourage people to share tips with their elderly friends and relatives. In the last 12 months, 516 people aged over 60 fell victim to scams in Bedfordshire.

Detective Sergeant Pete Ward from Bedfordshire Police’s Cyber Crime Investigation Team, said: “You may know what a scam email looks like, but do your elderly friends and relatives?

“These heartless fraudsters don’t think twice about targeting elderly or vulnerable people, and although we do all we can to catch them and bring them to justice, it’s really important that everyone is aware of the steps they can take to stay safe. Please share our messaging with others around you to make sure they don’t fall victim to scammers.”

The force is also alerting the public to a growing scam where criminals pose as police officers or as bank officials and ask their victims to take part in a fake undercover operation.

Fraudsters are contacting members of the public claimingthey are investigating a fraud at a local branch where staff are suspected of being involved in issuing fake bank notes.

The victim is asked to help by visiting the branch and withdraw supposedly counterfeit cash to hand over to the ‘police’ for ‘analysis’.

Katy Worobec, Head of Fraud and Financial Crime Prevention, Cyber and Data Sharing at UK Finance said: “This is a particularly nasty scam as it plays on people’s public-spirited nature to assist the police.

“We are receiving a growing number of reports of it occurring, with people often losing large amounts of money, so it’s vital that everyone is aware. Remember, the police will never ask you to withdraw money and hand it over to them for safe-keeping.”

Tips and advice from Bedfordshire Police include:

  • If you receive an unexpected call, stop - do you know who is calling? If you’re not sure don’t talk - it’s the best way to protect your information
  • Scammers can seem realistic but they are after your details and money. It’s ok to say ‘no’ - never give anyone your PIN or other personal information
  • If you’re online shopping, the website should show a padlock icon in the address bar and the web address should start with ‘https://’
  • Fraudsters can use official logos and email addresses to gain your trust, so be suspicious of unexpected emails
  • If you are suspicious of an email, you’re not expecting it or it doesn’t seem quite right, don’t click on any links or open attachments
  • The police or your bank will never unexpectedly call asking you to withdraw or move your money, or change your password by clicking on a link in an email
  • Use different passwords for all your accounts, making sure they are at least 12 characters and use a mixture of upper case and lower case letters, and symbols
  • Make sure your computer and other devices are secure using up to date anti-virus software

Report fraud and scammers to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, and for more information visit: www.getsafeonline.org

In an emergency, call 999 and contact police on 101 for other queries.

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