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Scam Alerts

Alert message sent 03/03/2022 13:03:00

Information sent on behalf of Surrey Police

We are seeing a rise in burglary offences as we get back to 'normal' life and leave our homes unoccupied more often. Sheds and garages are particular targets as they often store power tools and valuable bikes.

Some tips for you:
1 – Secure your side gate and hide your wheelie bins
2 – Develop good habits – lock windows and doors before you go to bed and when you leave home
3 – Nature’s a great defence
4 – Fit external security lighting - a burglar doesn’t want to be in the spotlight!
5 – Fit an alarm

For more information about crime reduction and how to secure your home, please visit our website: https://www.surrey.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/

Omicron Scams: Fraudsters claiming to be from the NHS have been sending phishing emails/texts, making cold calls and door stepping people, claiming that they had been in touch with someone who had COVID and had to pay for a test kit.

They will typically take money from the victim by charging for the vaccine or by harvesting their personal and financial details which they will use to sell or take money from their bank account.

These are the cases we’ve had reported in Surrey and Sussex in recent weeks:

A 74-year-old female from Brighton was initially contacted by text stating that the sender was a representative of the NHS and that she had come into contact with someone who had the Omicron variant of Covid-19. She was asked via text to follow a link, where she would have to pay £1.34 for packaging fees for an Omicron test, she input her bank details to order the test. Shortly after she was contact by a male on the phone who claimed to be a staff member of Santander and stated that her bank account has been subject to fraudulent activity. As such she was told by this male that a new account had been set up for her. The male went on to say that she would need to transfer £4,500 from her current account into the new one. At this point she became suspicious, terminated the call, and then contacted the police.

A 68-year-old female from West Sussex had transferred approximately £25,000 to a bank account following a text message she received initially stating she had been in contact with someone with COVID. She received a text on 11 February stating that she had been in contact with someone with COVID and the message gave a link to order a test at a cost of £1.43. The victim clicked into the link and entered her bank details to pay the rest. The next morning, she received a call from a male called stating he was from the HSBC fraud team and the number he called from was the same number that appears on the back of her HSBC bank card. She therefore believed this call to be legitimate due to this, however it is believed the number had been spoofed. He told her they could see her accounts had been compromised and therefore wanted to move her money to a safe account. She transferred over £25,000 in total into the fraudsters bank account.

An 84-year-old man from Epsom received a text message from someone who has stated that the he had been in touch with someone who had COVID and he had to pay £1.30 to get a COVID test kit. Luckily the victim realised it was a scam before any money had been paid out.

A 62-year-old woman from Tadworth received a text message telling her she had been in contact with someone who had tested positive with the Omicron variant. The message stated that she needed to take a PCR test. The victim clicked on a link in the message and paid for the test using her bank details. She then received a call from someone who claimed to be from Barclays and told her there were some issues with her account. The victim transferred them some funds and lost a total of £23,000.

Bernadette Lawrie BEM the Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Sussex and Surrey Police said: “We continue to see heartless fraudsters exploiting the pandemic to target individuals when they are at their most vulnerable. We would urge the public to be aware of the tactics being used including spoofing telephone numbers so they appear legitimate and remind people that the Covid-19 vaccines and NHS testing services are free and will not request your bank card details.”

All incidents of fraud should be reported to Action Fraud which is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre. You can also report by calling 0300 123 2040 Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm.

If a victim of fraud is elderly or vulnerable, reports can be made directly to Surrey Police in order for a Safeguarding intervention to take place.

Scams often operate across geographic boundaries and we work together with a number of national partners to build a bigger picture of how and where scams are operating. Your information can help. If you have you received a suspicious phishing email, text, or phone call you can help tackle these types of scams by informing our partner agencies:

What to do if you receive a suspicious email?
• Email: forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) via report@phishing.gov.uk

What to do if you receive a suspicious text message?
• Text message: forward to 7726. This free-of-charge short code enables your provider to investigate the origin of the text and take action, if found to be malicious.

What to do if you receive a suspicious phone call?
• Phone calls / Social media: report these to Action Fraud via their website: https://actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing

The NHS will NEVER ask for payment or any financial details.

Report suspicious text messages by forwarding them to 7726 (it's free of charge).

You may well have heard of the dial "55" silent solution if you need us in an emergency but cannot speak on the phone.

If you're calling 999 from a mobile and can't speak, press 55 and we'll know you need help. This is how we tell the difference between someone frightened for their life, and someone who has just pocket dialled us.

For more information visit our website: https://www.surrey.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/us/contact-us/how-to-make-a-silent-999-call/

Longing to book your next holiday? Be wary of deals or offers that seem too good to be true.

Criminals often set up fake websites offering ‘cheap travel deals’ which are used to obtain your money and information. Websites may look genuine but subtle changes in the URL can indicate that it’s fraudulent.

You may also be directed away from secure payment channels to ‘avoid missing a booking’ to pay via bank transfer or through fake payment pages.

Before making any purchases, ensure you do your research by reading reviews of the website you’re buying from. Where possible, use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under Section 75.

Message sent by
Carolyn Anstey (Surrey Police, Office Manager, Runnymede)

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