There are a lot of variations of scams, which seem to evolve on a fairly regular basis. The vast majority if not all involve Social Engineering – appealing to emotions, leveraging urgency and authority. It’s crucial that we raise awareness of that ‘well-trodden path’ as OWL call it, because once you are attuned to looking out for those signs, it’s easier to identify a scam regardless of what type it is and how long it takes to come into fruition etc. On average there are over 600 victims per month in Hertfordshire losing many thousands of pounds!
Typical scams in circulation
- Scammers posing as Police Officers/Staff/Banking Officials
- HMRC monies owing or refunds
- Dating websites – romance scams, exploiting vulnerable, lonely members of our society during Lockdown
- Spoof emails asking to click on links
- Post office/courier texts demanding payment for wrong postage – this is a double scam whereby payment is demanded to redeliver a parcel. Then a few days later the victim is called by a scammer purporting to be from their bank, and they are told they were victim of a scam (which they were), but because this is a truth, the victim believes them and then potentially parts with further money via a Push Payment
- Virgin Media network and account issues
- Amazon prime accounts
- Courier fraud – when a victim (often elderly or with mental health concerns) is contacted and told they need to move their money out of their account as they have been subject to a scam/investigation. They then arrange to meet with that individual to collect the money they take out of the account. With large unusual payments or requests to take money out of a branch, the Banking Protocol will be enacted by banking staff whom inform the Police of any potentially fraudulent activity.
Please report all scams to Action Fraud on the following link: www.actionfraud.police.uk
Police contact advice
- Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress
- Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents
- Alternatively, visit www.herts.police.uk/contact to report a non-emergency crime online or chat to a police operator live via web chat service
- If you are calling about the above message, please state that you are responding to a message from OWL