Warnings sounded over rise in scam phone calls

SCAM phone callers are now using ‘every way possible’ to try to defraud people of their money and personal details, district residents have been warned.

Sue Shelton, chairman of Storrington Friends of Meadowside said she is hearing of more and more cases of fraudsters calling and trying to find out bank details and addresses.

“There are loads of scam phone messages coming in. I had one calling about my Dyson hoover saying ‘someone’s missed out some of your details’. I hadn’t even got a Dyson hoover.

“There’s one from someone reporting to be from Virgin Mobile saying ‘can I have your password?’.

“Someone else had one about a combi-boiler that she had bought, saying they need to update your details. She doesn’t have a combi-boiler.

“They are doing it with everything and trying every way possible. They’re getting very canny.”

She added that the Telephone Preference Service, which can prevent details from being shared with some companies, has not made much difference.

“I have got telephone preference service and it’s not blocked them out. In a week I get about three of four. I tell the people I know about them, but people are getting caught out.”

Sally Taylor from Southwater said her mother had been receiving calls from someone reporting to be from Microsoft.

She said: “They say they’re from Microsoft and that your computer is downloading a lot of malicious files and they want to help you.

“They ask you to go open a certain file and keep you talking until you give them your bank details. The worst thing is that they have your full name and address.”

Dominic Powell from PC Repair said this scam had been around for some time.

“Over the past six months I’ve have about 20 to 30 customers call me about this. Last week two people called me so it’s something that they are trying to do.”

Sussex Police were not aware of any increase in the number of fake calls, but recommended their top five tips to prevent fraud:

1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.

2. Many frauds start with an email. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Always question whether an email could be bogus.

3. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don’t need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.

4. If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you’ve already lost.

5. To report fraud or if you need advice, visit Action Fraud’s website www.actionfraud.org.uk