Amazon Prime scams
In Angus and Tayside as a whole we are hearing more about Amazon Prime scams.
This article from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute explains how the scams work.
Extortion or blackmail scammers email you saying that they have a video (usually sensitive) of you and that they will share it publically unless you make a payment (this could me by bank transfer, iTunes vouchers, bitcoin or another method)
If you receive an email like this report it, delete it and change your email password. Do not make any form of payment.
We continue to receive referrals about individuals sending money to people that they have befriended online either through a dating website, social media or email. Once the scammers gain trust they will either directly or subtly ask for gifts, bank details, money or photos/videos of an intimate nature in order that they can go on to blackmail you. Never send money to someone you have met online, particularly if they are abroad.
Smart meter telephone scam
We have received reports form Angus Council tenants who have received a number of telephone calls from a company advising that they have been authorised by Angus Council to change the property over to a smart meter and would have to gain access within 5/6 weeks. The company advised the next time residents tried to top up their card meter it would go straight onto a bill. The telephone number they called from was 0800 023 8992.
This number is a known nuisance caller and Angus residents are being advised not to engage with them. Angus Council have not authorised changeover to smart meters and Housing Services do not get involved with changing tenants' energy provider.
If you or someone you know has received a call like this, please contact us using our enquiries form.
iTunes Voucher Scam
In Angus and indeed across the UK a lot of people have been scammed by use of iTunes vouchers.
Generally people have been phoned about things like Council Tax, inland revenue, hospital bills or utility bills. These scams follow a certain formula where the victim receives a call aimed at causing them panic and are pressured to make a payment by buying iTunes Vouchers from the nearest retailer and then paying by sharing the 16 digit code on the back of the card with the caller over the phone. All such calls are scams and actually a really nasty way of getting money from people (often those most vulnerable).
We would strongly warn everyone to never pay a bill by buying iTunes vouchers.
Through our colleagues in Trading Standards we can help more vulnerable people get protected from scam phone calls by free fitting of high tech call blocking devices which stop people being bothered by phone scammers.
So if you, or someone you know, has been phoned by iTunes scammers please contact the Angus Financial Abuse Support Team using our online form.
We have received reports from banks one Angus resident has been scammed out of £140,000 and another almost lost £84,000 (thankfully quick-thinking bank staff stopped the transaction).
Scammers are calling individuals reporting to be either head of security or fraud for the bank and advising that a named member of the branch staff is under surveillance for stealing money from accounts. The scammers ask for the bank details in order to move funds to a “safe place”.
Anyone receiving a call of this nature should hang up and report the incident to the police.
Internet/phone line scam
Fraudsters are attempting to con residents into providing their bank card details by phoning and advising that either their internet connection or phone line will be cut off unless an immediate payment is made.
Do not give your card or bank details to anyone over the phone. If you receive such a call hang up. If you are concerned that you may be cut off then phone your provider from a different phone – fraudsters often stay on the line so that even when you think you have called your provider or bank you are actually speaking to the scammers.
"Can’t pay? We'll take it away"
Fraudsters are seizing on the opportunity which is shown on TV re Court Bailiffs attending addresses and seizing goods.
The scam involves dressing as Bailiffs (quite authentic looking with stab vests) and targeting elderly people stating that a warrant has been issued to seize goods - worrying the occupant. They are then taking them to banks and ATMs in order to withdraw money to clear the so-called debt.
If this happens to you or you suspect it is happening to someone else dial 999 when the fraudsters are there (crime in progress) or 101 for advice only.
Bogus traders claiming to be council officers
We have been made aware of bogus traders impersonating building control officers in Kirriemuir recently. The man did not have any visible identification and he wasn’t asked to produce any ID. He was wearing council trousers (dark blue trousers with the reflective banner on the bottom) and a dark top.
He was seen walking up and down the street by homeowner before walking up her driveway. She went out to meet him. The male said he was from the council and was told to take photos of dangerous buildings. By the time she met him he had taken photos of a loose slate that was overhanging. Residents are urged to remember to request ID badges. Council officers will always carry ID.
Postcode Lottery scam
A vulnerable lady in Angus has received a lottery scam letter (see below). It looks superficially convincing but it is definitely a scam.
If you receive any mail and are unsure whether it is a scam please contact Trading Standards for advice on 03452 777 778.
Beware of scam phone calls
An Angus resident has reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be from BT calling to say that someone had been trying to access their BT account and to give the caller access to their computer so "they could make it safe".
If you receive a phone call like this then hang up and report it.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) scam
Fraudsters claiming to be from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are contacting consumers and firms to request account details to pay either a sum owed or offer a cashback.
The FCA said the scammers were contacting firms by email, post or by phone and claiming to be the regulator or an individual from the watchdog. The crooks are even using the regulator’s switchboard number – 020 7066 1000 – as a caller ID.
The regulator warned the industry not to offer any information or call the fraudsters back and said it would never contact anyone asking for money or account details.
The FCA confirmed that firms will always either set up a direct debit or offer payments through the contact details on the website.
It said: "The correspondence is likely to be linked to organised fraud and we strongly advise you not to respond to the criminals in any way."
It advised: "Look for signs that the email, letter or phone call may not be from us, such as it listing a mobile or overseas contact phone number, an email address from a hotmail or Gmail account, or a foreign PO Box number. Scam emails or letters often contain spelling mistakes and poor grammar."
If you are in any doubt about the authenticity of contact from the FCA, call the helpline on 0800 111 6768.
Quick thinking bank staff at the Royal Bank of Scotland, Kirriemuir have thwarted attempts by rogue traders to con an elderly gentleman out of £29000. Bank staff became suspicious after a man in his 80s attempted to withdraw a large quantity of money from his local branch to pay workmen, who had initially come to fix a couple of uneven roof tiles.
After the pensioner, from Kirriemuir, explained the money was for workmen who'd told him he needed to pay cash to have repairs to his house carried out, the bank stopped the transaction and notified police. It was also discover by bank staff that the pensioner had recently written two cheques for a total sum of £26000 for similar work, prompt action by staff who cancelled the cheques ensured the male did not lose any money.
Tayside Division are now treating this incident as suspected fraud and have launched an investigation. They're also appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward.
An Angus couple were approached by bogus workmen who claimed to have found woodworm in their roof. The 'woodworms' were in fact maggots which the scammers had brought with them.
Bogus Council Tax refunds
Be on your guard against cold callers who claim they can help to reduce your Council Tax band or reclaim money from the council.
The phone-call promise of cash savings comes with the caveat of an upfront payment to the company concerned. Our advice is don’t entertain the offer.
Talk Talk refund
Fraudsters are claiming to be from Talk Talk and advising that you were due a refund and that they have paid too much into your bank account and it has to be paid back to them.
One victim allowed remote access to her pc and the scammers applied for a loan in her name which showed as a credit to her bank account. They then asked her to withdraw the funds and pay the cash into a post office account.
If you receive any calls like this hang up and report it.
NHS phone call scam
An Angus resident received an unsolicited telephone call falsely claiming to be from the NHS. The matter was reported by the NHS to Angus Council.
The caller was seeking information - such as date of birth, place of birth and marital status. Although this may seem innocent, such information can be used by criminals to build up a picture of an individual allowing a false identity to be created.
Do not give out any information to callers unless you can be certain of their identity.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tax demand scam
We have received information about bogus telephone calls from HMRC demanding payment of back tax.
This is a scam – HMRC have advised they would only do this by post - not via telephone or email.
Pension scams are on the increase.
Watch out for:
- any offer to access your pension before you are 55
- any ‘pension loan’ or offer of ‘up front pension cash’
- anything using phrases like ‘investment opportunity’ or ‘legal loophole’
- any unexpected call, letter or text about access to your pension
- any offer of a ‘unique investment opportunity’
- check the facts
- seek independent financial advice by visiting the Find an Adviser website
- contact the Pension Advisory Service for advice
Residents are urged to be vigilant after an elderly local resident received a scam letter promising prize money of £900,000.
We were contacted after the man received apparent notification of having won £900,000 from a so-called International FIFA World Cup Online Lottery.
It asked him to make contact to begin the ‘claims process’.
Fortunately the letter was spotted by the resident’s daughter who passed it to us.
Our research showed that showed the companies pretending to hold these promised lottery winnings were non-existent.
Follow us on Twitter@scamfreeangus for regular updates on scams.