Phone scams are a real problem. Avon and Somerset Police want to help you keep your money safe – just remember, if in doubt it’s OK to say no.

Action Fraud recorded victims’ losses of more than £2.9m nationally from just one scam – where people phone or contact people online claiming to be from HMRC – between September 2017 and September 2018. More than a quarter of the 3,240 incidents reported in that time led to victims suffering a a financial loss.

The criminals behind this type of fraud are devious, ruthless and inventive. They rely on people’s honesty or use bullying and high-pressure tactics.

As well as the HMRC scam, fraudsters claim to be from the police or your bank’s fraud investigation team, service providers like BT and many other organisations – all as a way to get at your money.

Action Fraud has lots of information on its website, including an A to Z of scams

Five things to look out for when you get an unexpected phone call:

  • The caller doesn’t give you time to think. They try to stop you speaking to anyone about it such as a family member, friend or bank staff
  • They’re insistent, try to frighten you or make you feel uncomfortable
  • The caller asks you to transfer money to a new account – something genuine callers will never do
  • They ask for your 4-digit card PIN or online banking password – again no genuine caller will ask for this information
  • They claim you are a victim of fraud and offer to send a courier to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book – never hand over items in these circumstances

There’s more advice on the ‘Take Five’ website.

Remember, please report it if you have been a victim or fraud or a criminal has attempted to defraud you.

How? Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and crime reporting centre. It provides a central point of contact about fraud and financially motivated crime.

You can report online through their website or you can call 0300 123 2040.

Will you help? If you have a vulnerable relative or friend, please pop in for a cup of tea and chat to them about these scams and how to prevent them. Let them know it’s OK to say no.

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