Take Five To Stop Fraud

Sadly, criminals are using coronavirus, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas to target people.

There are many different scam tactics being used at present so it’s important that you stay alert and watch out for anything unusual.

Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national campaign that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception, phone-based scams and online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.

Always Take Five – Stop, Challenge and Protect

STOP – Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT – Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.

What we do to help keep you safe

It’s important for you and your family protect yourselves from fraud and scams including when speaking to the Penny Post Customer Services team. Remember –

  1. When we speak to you, we will always ask you 2 questions to confirm your identity.
  2. We will never ask you for your PIN number, or any digits from your PIN number.
  3. Whilst we are working remotely, our usual caller ID may not be displayed on your phone. If you are unsure, feel free to call us on our usual customer services number, 0333 332 1461.
  4. We will ask you to confirm the last 3 digits of your bank account when making telephone transfers/withdrawals, but for security reasons, we will NEVER take or ask for full bank details over the phone.

Become a Detective!

Question: How do you know that the emails, letters, texts or phone calls you receive are genuine, and that you are not being targeted by criminals trying to steal personal information and financial details from you?

Answer: By becoming a bit of a Miss Marple or Sherlock Holmes (or any other detective for that matter!) and question any unexpected communication that comes your way.

Scammers may use pressure tactics. For example: “If you purchase this item before 12 noon today, you will get 50% off – hurry – act soon”. They are trying to rush you so you don’t have time to think as you want to get that ‘bargain’. Any decision to buy should be made carefully, and you usually need time to make the right decision. SO DON’T RUSH!

But how do you know that a firm is genuine? If it’s to do with an alleged company in the financial field, then check if they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This is the body that authorises almost all financial services firms in the UK, so visit their website or call them on 0800 111 6768.

Be aware of ANY communications that you were not expecting. Here are some examples of scams that we’ve heard about:

  • Fictitious emails from government departments offering grants of up to £7500 or a Council Tax Reduction. They may look very real and ask you to click on a link taking you to a fake government website, with the aim of obtaining your personal data. Be very careful NOT to click on to links in emails, unless you are absolutely sure of who the sender is.
  • There have been phishing emails stating that you have been in contact with someone who has had Covid-19 – again taking you to a fake website to steal your personal information.
  • Watch out for any advert selling you something online – even face masks and hand sanitisers. There have been reports of the latter being paid for, but the goods not arriving.
  • Be wary of ‘Investment Opportunities’ caused by the pandemic, or emails requesting you to update your TV subscription service by clicking on a link – don’t input your card information unless you are certain it is a genuine request.

So, put your deerstalker hat on as Sherlock would do (figuratively speaking, of course!) and be vigilant and careful. And remember the old saying….. “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is”.

More advice on how to avoid online scams during coronavirus can be found here.