The Isle of Wight Scams Partnership
Whilst we might not ordinarily think of ourselves as vulnerable we are all concerned about our safety and that of our loved ones and our daily routines have changed considerably so we might not be thinking straight all the time – this is when the scammers are at their most successful.
The government are relying on emails and text messages as communication channels and the scammers have wasted no time in copying these and trying to use them to their advantage.
Some scams that we have already seen that look like they genuinely come from a trusted government source are
· Advising you to claim a Coronavirus payment by clicking on a link
· Telling you that you have been recorded leaving your property 3 times in one day and fined – click on the link to pay it.
· An email that says “as schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals please send your bank details and we will make sure you are supported”
Others that are worrying residents at the moment include
· a scam around the NHS Covid-19 app that is being trialled here on the Island. If you get a text message telling you that you have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive and telling you to click on a link delete it immediately, this is NOT how the app works. If you have the app and have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive the App will “ping” and you will get a screen with lots of links and advice as to what you should do.
· unsolicited phone calls offering to sell face masks for £29.00. These are scams. These criminals are preying on all of our vulnerabilities at the minute and trying to scare us into parting with cash or bank details.
· The Amazon scam - We heard last week about a resident who lost money to this scam, she had previously, accidentally, signed up to Amazon Prime and had to cancel it so when she received an automated call purporting to be Amazon she thought the same thing had happened again. Unfortunately she pressed the button to cancel the payment which led her straight to the scammers. She was kept on the phone for over an hour and a half whilst they convincingly took her card details (allegedly to return the payment to) and took money from her account. They resumed the call the following day and tried to take more however the bank alerted her to this and she stopped the call immediately. This could have been much worse but the resident still lost money that she could ill-afford.
REMEMBER – NEVER click on links in texts and emails and if you receive a phone call “out of the blue” treat it with suspicion
Reporting a Scam
· For advice on scams call - Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 250 5050
· To report a scam call - Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040
For further information around IWASP and the work we do or for more advice around current scams and how to protect yourself go to www.iwasp.org.uk