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Due to an increase in attempted telephone scams and persons pretending to be from Charities going door to door, I have created a guide to help you stay safe and protect yourself from falling victim to these type of offences.
Increasingly fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, much of which is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people.
The impact of fraud on victims is not only financial. The emotional impact is significant and includes guilt, misplaced trust and diminished confidence, which can have detrimental effects on the physical and mental health of the victim, as well as increased social isolation.
Fraud can be initiated in many ways, through emails, letters, telephone calls and face to face contact. Fraudsters want money and will do and say anything they can to con victims out of it. They attempt to trick people with flashy, official looking documents, websites and technical jargon, with the sole purpose of financial gain.
Fraudsters try to trick people out of their money by telephoning them pretending to be from a well-known company or service.
They often seem very genuine and trustworthy. Before they contact you they already know your name, your date of birth, your address and a whole host of personal information they can reel off as a way to show their sincerity.
They use well-rehearsed stories, designed to gain trust, for example pretending to be from a phone or computer service provider and claiming that there is a problem with your system that they need to fix.
- Be aware. Always verify the legitimacy of a caller by contacting the company they are claiming to be from using the contact number published on utility bills or official correspondence
- Don’t be afraid to just hang up
- NEVER give personal information, such as your date of birth or bank details to anyone. This includes typing your PIN into the handset
- If you are asked to make payment over the phone for something always confirm the caller’s identity first
NEVER allow an unexpected caller to talk you through processes on your computer, like downloading new software or accessing your online bank account.
You should report the scam to Action Fraud – the national fraud reporting centre.
They might get the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate the scam further. You’ll usually get a police crime reference number.
It’s easiest to report scams online – either:
- report it as a crime on Action Fraud’s website if you’ve lost money
- report it as a phishing attempt on Action Fraud’s website if someone tried to scam you
It’s best to fill in the form on a computer, not a mobile or tablet. It takes about 20 minutes to fill in.
You can also report the scam by phone.
Telephone: 0300 123 2040
Textphone: 0300 123 2050
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Many people want to donate to charity but it’s important to take some simple steps to make sure what you give gets to those you want to help. Sadly, criminals have historically exploited charitable giving by setting up fake charities and encouraging donations which are not passed onto the needy.
The following advice aims to raise awareness about safe ways to donate to charity and to ensure your money reaches those in need.
How to donate safely
It’s essential the public continues to support charities, but there are a few things to think about before donating:
- Be careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them. Don’t click through on any links from suspicious looking emails. If you want to donate online, type in the charity’s website address from your homepage
- Be cautious of poor grammar and spelling in documentation, including collection envelopes or clothing bags
- If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a request for donations, don’t hesitate to contact that charity directly. Be wary of any appeals where contact details for the charity are not provided. You can find genuine contact details for charities on their websites or on the Register of Charities, which is available on the Charity Commission website www.charitycommission.gov.uk
- If you are concerned that you may have been targeted by a fundraising scam, report it to Action Fraud www.actionfraud.org.uk and the police on 101
How can I be sure that a charity collector is genuine?
The Charity Commission strongly recommends that all collectors should:
- Be able to produce a valid local authority or police licence
- Wear an ID badge
- Have a sealed collection container with the charity’s registration number and name on it
- Be able to provide that they have the charity’s permission to collect
If you are still doubtful about the collector:
- Contact the Charity Commission – either via their helpline on 0845 300 0218 or www.charitycommssion.gov.uk
- Contact your local authority or police to check whether the collector has been granted a licence or needs one to collect
- Above all, don’t feel pressurised – send your donation to the charity direct. This may mean going to a little more trouble, but at least you can be sure that your donation will get to where it’s intended.
Report concerns about charity fraud using the non-emergency 101 number. Use 999 if a crime is in progress or life is at risk. Or report online atwww.kent.police.uk/report
Hope this guide helps you all stay safe,
PSE 59753 Adam Sackett