Tuesday 28 February 2023

Secure Surfing: Tips and Guidelines for Safe Internet Use

The internet has brought a revolution in the way we conduct our everyday tasks, but it is not without risks. 

These risks result from visiting malicious websites or inadvertently disclosing personal information. Risks associated with visiting criminal, malicious, or inappropriate websites include viruses and spyware, phishing, fraud, copyright infringement, and exposure to inappropriate content. 

To use the internet safely, one should be wary of such websites, trust instincts and common sense, look for genuine contact details, and check for subtle misspellings. 

Websites with no secure link should be avoided, and it is better to be cautious of websites that require more personal information than usual. Before entering personal information on a website, one should check for a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, and the web address should begin with "https://" to ensure secure communication. 

Cookies can be a source of fraud or used to build a profile of browsing habits. It is advised to set the browser to warn against cookies, enable and disable cookies on a site-by-site basis, use an anti-spyware program, and use plain text email displays. Browsers can be used safely by allowing and blocking selected websites, blocking pop-ups, and disabling cookies.

For more in-depth information on this 'Safer Internet Use', please refer to the original source of the article from Get Safe Online which is the UK’s leading internet safety website.

Alert: Beware of Latest Tax Office Impersonation Scam, Government Warns

Scammers are sending fake tax refund emails using HMRC branding to trick people into clicking a 'Claim Now' button that takes them to a phishing website where they're asked to enter their personal details. This is a common tactic during tax season, as many people have recently filed their tax returns. HMRC has issued a warning about this scam, reminding people that they will never send specific tax information by email.

For more in-depth information on this phishing scam, please refer to the original source of the article from Which? dated 28 February 2023 and how to report scam emails.

Fraud offences have skyrocketed, read on

Fraud is now the most frequent crime in the UK, with 4.5 million offences recorded in the year ending March 2022. 

This marks a 34% increase from the previous year ending in March 2017. However, many police forces are not giving priority to fraud cases, as only 8% of fraud and cybercrime reports were forwarded for investigation by law enforcement. This has resulted in a minimal number of cases reaching court, with only 4,488 fraud cases heard in 2021. Experts suggest that the low detection and prosecution rates may be due to insufficient resources and inadequate training in combating fraud.

For more in-depth information on this, please refer to the original source of the article from Which? dated 25 February 2023.

Beware: Disney+ Impersonation Email Leads to Phishing Scam

Scammers are targeting consumers with a fake email promoting a 98% discount on subscriptions to the Disney+ streaming service. 

The email, sent from the address ‘DisneyPlus@costumercontact.com’, includes an image from 'The Avengers' to appear more convincing. 

Clicking on the link in the email takes users to a phishing website, where they are prompted to create an account by entering personal information. 

The website features a countdown clock to increase the pressure on users to act quickly. 

The URLs are linked to a ‘digital gaming’ company called Skill Games ApS based in Belgium. 

Online reviews of the websites accuse them of taking unauthorized payments and not delivering items won in games.

For more in-depth information on this Disney+ phishing scam, please refer to the original source of the article from Which? dated 22 February 2023.

Monday 27 February 2023

Warning: Security Upgrade Scam Email

fake scam email

We would like to warn you about a recent scam email claiming to be a security upgrade from a personal Gmail account. This email is not from a professional organization and should not be trusted. The email contains order transaction details paid by direct debit that is designed to trick recipients into providing personal information by verifying if there is an error in the transaction.

We urge all recipients to exercise caution when receiving unsolicited emails and to always verify the legitimacy of the sender and content before clicking on any links or providing any personal information. Do not respond to suspicious emails, texts, or calls, and do not download any attachments or click on any links.

If you receive a suspicious email, please report it to the relevant authorities immediately. In the UK, you can forward suspicious emails (as screenshots) to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspicious text messages (as screenshots or screen recordings) to the number 7726. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud immediately by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting their website.

Stay safe online.

Warning: Beware of TV Licence Scam Emails

Fake email screenshot

This is a common TV license renewal scam email that aims to deceive recipients into clicking on a link to renew their license. The email claims that the recipient's license is due for renewal, and prompts them to click a button to avoid service interruption.

However, this email is a scam, and recipients should not click the link. Always verify the legitimacy of any email by researching the sender and content before responding.

It is also important to report any suspicious emails, texts, websites, or calls to the relevant authorities. In the UK, you can forward suspicious emails (as screenshots) to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspicious text messages (as screenshots or screen recordings) to the number 7726. Additionally, if you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud immediately by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting their website.

Warning: Theft of Microchip Scanner and Orange Hi Viz Vests - Beware of Suspicious Activity

On Friday 24th February 2023, one of our volunteers' vehicles was broken into by three males. Although several items were taken, we are particularly concerned about the theft of two orange HI VIZ vests with the "Missing Paw Team" MPT logo on the left side and the words 'team leader' on the back, as well as a black halo microchip scanner.

theft of two orange HI VIZ vests with the MPT logo
theft of black halo microchip scanner

We advise the public to be cautious of anyone who approaches them to scan their dog or who knocks on their door requesting to see their dog, without prior contact with our organisation.

It is important to note that all our volunteers carry valid identification and if someone is acting suspiciously, do not hesitate to call 999 and challenge them for identification.

We want to highlight that none of our legitimate volunteers wear orange HI VIZ vests as they are specific to our special operations. The stolen items may be discarded or sold, but we want to warn the public of this incident and urge them to stay vigilant.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/groups/www.themissingpawteamuk.co.uk/permalink/1564674050711238/

Alert: Latest DVLA Phishing Scam Email Targets Unsuspecting Victims


example of the phishing scam email

Phishing is a persistent problem in the online world, with scammers constantly coming up with new ways to deceive people into handing over their personal and financial information. One such example is the phishing scam email, which is designed to look like a legitimate email from a reputable organization or company. However, these emails contain links to harmful websites that can infect your computer or steal your sensitive information.

If you receive a suspicious email, it is important to take action immediately to protect yourself and others from falling victim to these scams. The first step is to avoid clicking on any links in the email. Instead, take the time to research the sender and the email's contents to see if they are legitimate. If you are still unsure, reach out to the company or organization directly using contact information you trust, rather than replying to the suspicious email.

It is also important to report any suspicious emails, texts, websites, or calls to the relevant authorities. In the UK, you can forward suspicious emails (as screenshots) to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspicious text messages (as screenshots or screen recordings) to the number 7726. Additionally, if you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud immediately by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting their website.

It is important to remain vigilant and aware of the latest phishing scams, as they are constantly evolving. Check out resources such as the Which? website, which often shares examples of the latest scams and offers advice on how to spot and report them. Remember, taking the time to research and verify the legitimacy of an email or website can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Saturday 25 February 2023

Met: The Turnaround Plan 2023-2025

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has recently launched the Turnaround Plan, which outlines how the Met will achieve its objectives of building More Trust, Less Crime, and High Standards. The Plan includes revised values for its staff and sets out nine priority areas that require specific attention.

To create this Plan, the Met has been engaging with communities, partners, and its officers, volunteers, and staff. However, this is just the beginning of the process, as the published Plan is a draft that will be shared with partners and communities to gather feedback, especially related to the Met's approach to neighbourhood policing, community engagement, diversity, and inclusion.

The Met will use this feedback to finalize the Plan, which will be published in April 2023. Therefore, it is essential that community members participate in the survey to provide their feedback, which will be anonymous and used to inform the Met's decisions. The survey is being run by Ignite, and no personal identifying information is collected when a respondent takes a survey.

The Met will only have access to the responses given to the questions asked and will not be able to identify individuals or households. The results of these surveys will be shared within the Met to help ensure the views of the communities inform the decisions made.

It is crucial to participate in the survey to shape the final version of the Plan that will impact the Metropolitan Police's approach to policing and community engagement. Your participation is key to the Met's success in achieving its objectives of More Trust, Less Crime, and High Standards.

The survey will run for eight weeks from 20th January to 17th March 2023.

Source and details: Met The Turnaround Plan

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Missing Person Alert: Charles, 25, Last Seen in Bexley on February 11th - UPDATE*

Call 999 if you see missing Charles, 25, last seen in Bexley (Met Police Tweet)

We need your urgent assistance to locate Charles, a 25-year-old man who has been reported missing from Bexley. He was last seen on Saturday, February 11, wearing blue jeans, a grey/navy hoodie, a black puffa jacket, and a knitted black beanie with a brown label.

The police are extremely concerned about Charles' welfare, and we ask anyone who may have seen him or has any information on his whereabouts to please come forward. You can call 101 and quote reference number 23MIS004859 with any information you may have.

We understand that Charles' family and loved ones are extremely worried about him, and we are doing everything we can to locate him as quickly as possible. If you have seen Charles, or have any details that could help us find him, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Your help could be crucial in bringing Charles back to safety, and we appreciate any support you can provide. Please share this appeal with your friends and family, and on social media, to help spread the word and increase the chances of finding Charles.

We thank you in advance for any information you may have and for your assistance in bringing Charles back to his loved ones.

If you have any information about Charles, call police on 999 and quote the reference 23MIS004859.

UPDATE* @MPSBexley - Charles has been found safe and well. Thank you for your help in trying to find him.

Missing Child Alert: Police Seek Public's Assistance in Finding Isabella from Northend Road, Erith - UPDATE*

Call 999 if you see missing girl, 10, last seen in Erith (Met Police Tweet)

Police are urgently appealing for the public's help to find 10-year-old Isabella, who has gone missing from her home. The last sighting of Isabella was in Northend Road, Erith, where she was seen wearing her school uniform, including a pink furry coat, a red jumper, and a grey skirt.

Isabella is described as being 5 ft 1 and of a slim build. If you have any information that could help locate her, please call the police immediately on 999, quoting reference number 4922/21Feb23.

We urge anyone who may have seen Isabella or has information on her whereabouts to come forward as soon as possible. Please share this appeal with your friends and family to help spread the word.

Bexley MPS tweeted: "MISSING/ "Please look out for 10-year-old Isabella. Last seen in Northend Road, Erith. Isabella is 5'1" & slim build. Any information CALL 999 with ref 4922/21Feb23. Please help us to bring her home safe and sound.

We also request the assistance of @BTPLondon, @metpoliceuk, and @TfL to help with the search in the Barnehurst and Bexleyheath areas.

If you have any information about Isabella, call police on 999 and quote the reference 4922/21Feb23.

UPDATE* - @MPSBexley - Missing 10 year old Isabella, has been found! She is safe and well with Bexley police officers. Thank you for the support in sharing.

Warning: Impersonating Police Officers in Belvedere

The Belvedere Safer Neighbourhoods Policing Team has been made aware of a male and female who have been impersonating police officers in the area. They have been calling at properties late in the evening, which could put residents at risk of harm or theft.

If you are suspicious of a police officer calling at your property, you should in the first instance ask for and examine their identification. If you are still unsure, do not hesitate to call the non-emergency police number - 101 and ask the operator if any police officers are attending your address.

The police are taking this matter seriously and actively investigating the issue. If you see anyone suspicious, report it to the non-emergency police number. Stay safe and be vigilant.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

URGENT ALERT : Residents of Tyrrell Avenue and surrounding areas

Neighbourhood Watch is warning residents of Tyrrell Avenue, DA16, about a recent rise in car break-ins.

A car was broken into on early hours of 19 February 2023 at around 2-3am, along with another car nearby, and there was another car break-in reported on Radnor Avenue.

The suspect is thought to be a person on a bike with red hair, and he has been caught trying to break into another neighbour's van. If you own a keyless entry car, please consider getting a device that blocks these thieves. A neighbour chased the suspect in Danson Park, but he got away.

Please remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the authorities immediately. If you have any information, please contact Falconwood & Welling Police on 101 or email falconwood.welling.snt@met.police.uk or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111 anonymously.

Get involved in Stephen Lawrence Day 2023 – A Legacy for Change

Stephen Lawrence Day is an annual national commemoration of Stephen’s life and legacy and takes place on 22nd April each year.  Stephen Lawrence Day 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of Stephen’s murder. Activities and events to mark Stephen Lawrence Day are organised by the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation.

Find out how to get involved:  https://stephenlawrenceday.org/

Raise awareness of child exploitation and abuse with #LookCloser in your area

Any child can become a victim of exploitation and abuse: from sexual abuse, to being forced to work for no money, or made to sell drugs from properties taken over by criminals; these children need your help to protect them from horrific abuse and lifelong trauma.

At Neighbourhood Watch, we as neighbours are in a position to spot the signs and report them, so we can keep children safe. That’s why The Children’s Society is asking everyone to #LookCloser.

If something doesn’t feel right, it might not be. Report it now to the police on 101, or 999 in an emergency. If you’re unsure you can call the NSPCC for advice on 0808 800 5000.

Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Unaccompanied children visiting a house where only adults live
  • Young people who appear anxious, frightened, angry, showing signs of neglect or displaying other behaviours/injuries that make you worried
  • Increased anti-social behaviour at a property
  • Not seeing the resident for long periods of time
  • Unfamiliar vehicles at the property

To find out more about what you can do and what to look out for, as well as to access free resources, visit childrenssociety.org.uk/lookcloser.

New Film Warns of Risks of Not Using a Qualified Plumber

With the cost of living soaring and winter on its way, WaterSafe, the UK’s register of approved contractors working with drinking water, has released a new film urging people to always use a qualified plumber.

All WaterSafe members carry minimum levels of Public Liability Insurance and belong to an Approved Contractors’ Scheme. For more information, visit watersafe.org.uk or call 0333 207 9030 and say you heard about them from Neighbourhood Watch (p4-pdf).

Friday 17 February 2023

URGENT ALERT : Attempted theft of Van in East Wickham

URGENT ALERT: A thief attempted to steal a van parked on the drive of a property on Central Avenue, Welling at around 4:39am on Friday, 17 February 2023.

We have obtained footage from a Ring doorbell camera which clearly shows the attempted theft.

We urge all residents in the area to be vigilant and check their own CCTV footage. If you witnessed any suspicious activity or have any information related to this incident, please contact the East Wickham Police immediately. You can call them on 101, or on 020 8721 2025, or email them at
eastwickham.snt@met.police.uk. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 1111. Please stay safe and keep an eye out for any unusual activity in your neighbourhood.

Thursday 16 February 2023

Weekly roundup of good news! from SE Met Police

On February 11, the joint engagement team and Woolwich town centre team set up a crime prevention stand and bike marking event at Royal Arsenal Market, marking 68 bikes. To get your bike marked, keep an eye out for future events in your area on social media or through local mailing lists.

On February 13, the Bexley response team arrested a male involved in a road traffic accident, who was found to have stolen the vehicle and was arrested for multiple offences.

On February 15, the Sidcup Safer Neighbourhood team ran a successful Catalytic converter marking event, checking over 200 cars and fitting 50 with kits, and will run another event at Tesco's in Sidcup.

On February 14, the Charlton Safer Neighbourhood team conducted a successful weapon sweep, finding and destroying three knives.

Local Bexley officers from Safer Neighbourhood teams will be visiting each resident on the wards by doing a street a week, and on February 10, Lewisham officers responded quickly to a report of an attempted burglary and found the suspect to be wanted for another attempted burglary committed one month earlier.

Source: SE Met Police (16 Feb 2023)

Diet pills scam

Fraudsters are using ‘Dragons’ Den’ branding to peddle fake diet pills. These scam emails try to trick recipients into ordering Figur or Liba pills under the guise of them being a ‘Dragons’ Den’ success story. 

This scam message claims that these diet pills are a 'miracle' and that women lose an average of one-and-a-half stone in a month by using Figur pills, without changing their diet or lifestyle.

And at the bottom of the email, you're asked to click a button to 'Go to Figur special offer'. If you click on the link, you'll be taken to another website asking for your personal information. If you enter your details, you’ll be giving them to scammers. 

Discover more about how this scam works and learn how to report dodgy emails.

Fake diet pills

Source: Which? (15 Feb 2023)

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Free Catalytic Converter Marking and Vehicle Crime prevention stand

The Safer Neighbourhoods Policing Team are holding a FREE catalytic converter marking event this Friday (17th February) starting at 10.00 am in the TESCO's car park, Edgington Way, Sidcup.

 All motorists are welcome to have their vehicles checked to see whether they have a  convertor susceptible to easily being stolen.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Turkey Earthquake

Please be warned that it is very expensive to send items to Turkey from outside Europe. There are also many tough government regulations for allowing aid into Turkey. A container from UK , North America, Australia can cost $1000s ! 

When donating any items please use only the well established organisations AND seek proof of distribution! There will always be fraud in these tragedies!! You must carry out due diligence! 

Thank you.

Monday 13 February 2023


Scams can come in many different disguises, so it’s important to know the warning signs to look out for and what to do if you have, or think you have been targeted.

  • Phishing

An email scam where you appear to get a message from a legitimate source, such as your bank, HM Revenue and Customs, PayPal, Apple or Amazon.

The message will encourage you to click a link and log into your account, normally by telling you your account has been locked or there is a large transfer of money. In reality, the link in the email goes to a fake website which collects your information.

Another version of this scam involves an email attachment (perhaps a coupon or form you need to fill in), which is in fact a computer virus.

  • How to spot it

There are two main ways to spot a phishing scam:

Look at how you’re addressed in the email. Scammers will use a general greeting such as Dear Sir, Dear Madam or Dear Customer. Legitimate emails will use your name.

The email address the message has been sent from. Open the email and expand the pane at the top of the message and look at the email it was sent from. If it’s a real message it will come from a recognisable address (e.g. noreply @ bank.com). Scammers will not be able to send messages from a real domain name, so the email addresses will be filled in with random letters or numbers (e.g. noreply @ 1234.bank.com), or have deliberate spelling mistakes.

  • What to do

Never click the links in a suspicious email. If you think there might be a legitimate problem with an account, go to the website directly and log in. This way you’ll never be caught out by a fake website.

Some organisations, such as HMRC, have an email address you can forward these emails on to, which helps them combat scams.

Find out more about phishing on the Action Fraud website

  • Vishing

A phone call where the scammers pretend to be from your bank, building society or even a government agency. During the phone call, the fraudsters will attempt to get you to reveal your personal details.

  • How to spot it

Very difficult. The big tip off here will be the caller will be desperately trying to get you to reveal your information, which no legitimate caller would ask you to do.

  • What to do

If you’re sure the call is fraudulent, just hang-up the phone. If you’re not sure, hang-up the phone and call your bank, building society on the number on your debit or credit card. This way you can be sure you’re going to the right people and if there is a problem, they can tell you about it.

But be careful. Scammers can hijack your phone line, so when you hang up, wait a few minutes before calling your bank or building society.

Find out more about vishing on the Action Fraud website.

  • Investment scams

Can be quite difficult. Many of the companies the scammers are calling from or trying to get you to invest in can look legitimate, with websites, social media profiles and testimonials.

  • Is it a scam?

The FCA’s ScamSmart website has a tool to help you check if an investment or pension opportunity is a scam.

There’s also lots more information about avoiding the latest scams. Visit the ScamSmart website.

You should check the FCA register to see if the investor is regulated and Companies House to see if what they’re getting you to invest in exists.

Remember, it’s unlikely a company will contact you out of the blue about an investment opportunity. If you get an unexpected phone call, it’s best to ignore it.

A big warning sign should be if you’re told an investment offers a high rate of return with little risk.

  • What to do

Report to the FCA using their reporting form, or if you have lost money to suspected investment fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or online at ActionFraud.police.uk.


  • Pension scams

Since the pension freedoms were introduced in 2015, retirees are able to access large sums of money from pension pots.

An unfortunate side-effect has been this group is now being targeted by scammers because they can potentially access large amounts of cash.

Pension scams will usually follow a similar path to investment scams, with contact normally being made by telephone.

  • How to spot it

Warning signs are similar to those for investment scams.

Unsolicited phone calls, or any unrequested contact, should be treated as suspicious. Anything involving high returns with low risk should ring alarm bells.

If you want to be sure, check the FCA register and Companies House.

  • What to do

Report to the FCA using their reporting form, or if you have lost money to suspected investment fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or online at ActionFraud.police.uk.

  • Advance-fee fraud

Another kind of email scam, and probably the most well-known. You get an email from ex-ministers or the royal family, often from a country in Africa.

Normally, they will ask to use your bank account to deposit a large sum of money so they can get out of the country and offer to pay you a fee.

You’ll be asked for your bank details, but of course there is no money and the scammers will use the details you send to clear-out your bank account.

Similar schemes exist with wills and claiming an inheritance from a long-lost relative.

  • How to spot it

One of these times when you have to remember if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Again, it is worth checking the email as the name the message is from and the email will not match. Bad spelling and grammar can also be a give-away.

  • What to do

Ignore the email and never send payment details or personal information.

Find out more about Advance-fee fraud on the Action Fraud website.

  • Authorised push payment fraud

The goal of this scam is to get you to voluntarily send, or authorise, a payment to the scammers. They do this by posing as a legitimate business, often by intercepting or hacking your email account.

This often occurs when you’re in the process of buying a house, having building work done on your home or booking a holiday.

  • How to spot it

Spotting push payment fraud can be very difficult as it normally occurs at a time when you’re expecting to be asked for payment. Don’t assume all emails are genuine.

  • What to do

Check the company you expect to be paying did send you the email and the bank details match.

If you do fall victim, new rules introduced by the FCA, mean you can now make a complaint to your bank and the bank receiving the payment.

Most high street banks area signed up to this new code of practice.

Find out more about what you can do if you’re the victim of an APP scam on the Which? website.

  • Safe account scams

You will be contacted, usually on the phone by someone claiming to be from your bank. They will say your account has been compromised in some way and encourage you to transfer all of your money from your bank to a “safe account”.

  • How to spot it

It can be very difficult as the scammers play on your fears about people illegally accessing your money.

But the easiest thing to remember is banks will never ask you to transfer money into a “safe account”.

If your account has been hacked, then your bank will be able to stop money coming out of it very quickly and there would be no point in transferring your money to a different bank account.

  • What to do

If you’ve been contacted on the phone, just hang up, and if you’re worried about your account security, call your bank directly.

Victims of this kind of fraud should contact their bank directly.


  • Pharming


Similar to phishing, but instead of sending you an email directly, the scammers target the website you are visiting.

You type in the correct website address, but you then get directed to a fake version, where you inadvertently put in your login details and secure information.

  • How to spot it

You need to be very observant. As you’ve entered the correct web address, you would naturally assume you’ve gone to the real website. Scammers have also designed these fake websites to look just like the real thing.

Look at the website address. It will not show up as you’re expecting, but as a selection of numbers, or perhaps something similar to the real name, but with letters switched around or a different spelling.

  • What to do

Be observant when you’re logging into websites and be on the look-out for suspicious website addresses.

It’s also important to keep your operating system and anti-virus software up-to-date.

Find out more about pharming on the Norton Security website.

  • Smishing

Text message based scam. Scammers will contact you claiming to be from your bank saying you need to update your personal details, or there is some kind of issue.

The text might contain a link (like a phishing scam), or a phone number to call. The phone number is fake and, when you call, the fraudsters will attempt to get you to reveal your details.

  • How to spot it

Difficult to spot, so if you get a message like this be suspicious. One giveaway might be the phone number in the text is not the same as the one on your credit or debit card.

  • What to do

If in doubt, call the number on your card and find out if they have tried to contact you.

Don’t click any links in text messages. Always go directly to the website and login as normal.

Find out more about smishing on the Action Fraud website.

  • Computer software fraud

Scammers pretending to be from Apple or Microsoft contact you by phone or email and say they need your payment details to fix, update or validate your software.

  • How to spot it

It’s very unlikely computer companies would make an unrequested phone call about these kind of issues. Treat the calls with the same suspicion as you would treat any other unexpected call or email.

  • What to do

If in doubt, contact your computer or software supplier directly and never give out your payment details.

Find out more about computer software services fraud on the Action Fraud website.

  • Door to door scams

Can take many forms, but instead of relying on the anonymity of online communications, they simply knock on your door.

While they can be investment and pension scammers as well, they can also try and scam you in a more practical way – like selling you a product or service.

A common example is a person claiming to be a builder who happened to notice some damage to your roof when they were passing. Fake charity collectors and salespeople are other examples.

Scammer might even claim to be from government agencies including the Money Advice Service.

The Money Advice Service has never, and will never turn up to your home, or contact you out of the blue via phone, WhatsApp, email or text.

If there are people claiming to be us who call at your home, you should call 101 to report the scammers, or 999 if you feel unsafe.

  • How to spot it

Always be suspicious of anyone arriving unannounced at your door. In the age of digital communications, it’s unlikely any legitimate company will attempt to do business this way.

It’s also important not to be fooled just because someone has identification. It’s very easy to make a fake ID and it’s no guarantee of legitimacy.

  • What to do

Do not engage with anyone who knocks on your door unannounced and anyone you suspect of trying to scam you or your neighbours should be reported to the police.

Find out more about door-to-door sales scams on the Action Fraud website.


  • Ticket scams

You buy tickets for a concert, sporting event but the person, or website, you’re buying from either doesn’t send the tickets, or sends you fakes.

This is most common on ticket reselling or exchange sites, which makes get a refund very difficult. To combat touts, many events issue tickets which can only be used by the person who bought them, so tickets on reselling sites will not work.

  • How to spot it

Spotting this scam can be difficult as you might not realise you’ve been scammed until the day of the event.

One way you might be able to spot it is by looking at the website. If it’s a website you’ve never heard of, or doesn’t have proper contact details, or only lists a mobile phone number or PO box, then you should avoid it.

  • What to do

Avoid buying tickets off social media or online auction sites where it might be difficult to trace the seller and get a refund.

Check the website you’re buying from is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR).

When paying, make sure the website address starts https, not just http, as this means the site is secure.

Find out more about ticket fraud on the Action Fraud website.


  • Other potential scams

There are plenty of other ways scammers might try to part you from your money.

They might steal information from your social media accounts, through public Wi-Fi connections, or through various types of insurance fraud.

Here, we take a look at some common scams which are harder to spot and prevent.

  • Multi-level-marketing schemes (MLMs)

While not every MLM is a scam, if you join an MLM you’re still likely to lose more money than you put in.

Typically an MLM will be a large organisation made up of hundreds of individuals selling merchandise and services such as beauty products, candles, cleaning products and books from home or via ‘parties’.

MLMs have a similar structure to pyramid schemes and in many MLMs it’s much more lucrative to recruit others than it is to earn commission from sales.

  • Dating fraud

Some fraudsters will connect with you on a dating website using a fake profile. They’ll be up-front about living overseas and will email you, getting to know you over time and becoming affectionate and romantic.

Then once you’ve become involved they will start asking for money for a sick relative or for a plane ticket to come and visit – and will happily take your money but never appear.

Find out more about dating scams on the Action Fraud website.

  • Crash for cash

Simply put, this is when someone has a deliberate crash so they can claim on the insurance. In reality, it’s a lot more complicated.

Groups, usually criminal gangs, will target people who they think will have good car insurance, or who are less likely to put up a fuss, for example, mothers with children.

The scammers’ car will be in front of you and suddenly slam on its brakes, or unexpectedly pull out of a junction causing you to crash into them.

They will insist the crash was your fault, but be willing to hand over their insurance information.

A few weeks later your insurance company will tell you the details of the other drivers claim, which will exaggerate the costs such as car hire, or whiplash injuries.

Find out more about crash-for-cash and how to avoid it on The AA website.

  • Health scams

If you see an email or an advert for a ‘miracle cure’ for baldness, cancer, impotence, acne or weight loss, then steer clear.

You could be offered something that appears to be a legitimate alternative medicine but doesn’t actually work.

Or you might think you are getting drugs and medicines very cheaply or without a prescription but they might not be the real thing – if they even turn up at all.

In some cases these fake medicines can actually damage your health.

Find out more about health scams on the Action Fraud website.

  • Job scams

There are a variety of job scams which range from promises of a new career, where you’re asked to pay up front for training or materials, to being offered non-existent jobs abroad where you are then asked to pay a fee to organise visas and accommodation.

You might also get caught by a work at home scheme where you’re told you’ll make easy money and you might have to pay a fee up front to register.

However, the ‘leads’ or products turn out to be worthless and – worse still – your registration details might be sold on to other scammers.

Find out more about job scams on the Action Fraud website.

  • Money mules

Here you could unknowingly end up breaking the law and helping criminals by using your bank account to take delivery of, and then forward, stolen money and be paid a commission for helping.

Falling for this scam would actually mean you’re breaking the law by money laundering.

Find out more about money mules on the Action Fraud website.

  • Online auction scams

Con artists can pose as either fake buyers or fake sellers. If they buy from you they appear to pay for the goods, but as soon as you have sent it to them, the payment is withdrawn.

Fake sellers get you to buy non-existent products and simply disappear with your money.

If you can, use tracked postage to send the item, and keep hold of your receipt. Do not agree to let the buyer arrange for their own courier to come and pick up the item.

For more information on other potential scams, check out the Action Fraud A-Z of fraud

Source: DFE

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