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Common Scams and Hoaxes

Below are some of the common scams and hoaxes that we have come across and those that members have made us aware of.


Nottinghamshire Police Magazine Scams and Sponsorship

It is not uncommon for businesses to be approached by agencies purporting to be from Police or other Emergency Services; or working on behalf of local Police or Fire Service. There are varying angles agencies may approach, for example; it may be for a desk planner, wall chart, crime prevention booklet or diaries etc. 

The approach is usually along the lines of outstanding payment from a previously agreed advertisement, or thanking you for your previous business and asking to re-run the advert.
 
Although Police and emergency services magazines are published elsewhere in the UK, Nottinghamshire Police does not produce a magazine. The Force also has a policy of not seeking or providing commercial endorsement of any kind. Therefore, we do not directly sell advertising space or employ another agency to do so on our behalf. 



Nottinghamshire Police Donation Scam

In the past we have received reports from local businesses informing us of phone calls they have received requesting donations on behalf of Nottinghamshire Police.

The caller calls with a withheld number and states that they are calling from `Nottingham or Nottinghamshire Police` and that they are collecting donations. When the caller is asked for their name and phone number, the caller states that in order not to inconvenience them, they will call back later and do not provide any details.

Nottinghamshire Police do not cold call in order to request donations. Please also be advised that any representative from Nottinghamshire Police should always state their full Name, Job Role and give their contact details. The representative should also give the person they are calling the option to call them back through the main Nottinghamshire Police switchboard to authenticate their call.

If you are suspicious of such calls and are unable to authenticate the call you are advised not give out any personal details, bank details or funds.



Microsoft Computer Scam

This scam has been reported in various newspapers throughout 2010 warning individuals of the scam; however, it would appear that this scam continues to be active.
 
The scam is usually conducted in the following way. The victim receives a phone call from an individual purporting to be from Microsoft quoting the victim`s name and address. The individual informs the victim that they have received a report from the victim`s Internet service provider of serious virus problems from their computer. The victim is told that if the problem is not addressed the computer will then become unusable.
 
The victim is then asked to open a programme called `Windows Event Viewer`. The contents of this programme can appear worrying, displaying what looks like a list of errors, and the caller advises that this is the correct programme, and that they will guide the victim through the process to fix them.
 
The caller then directs the victim to a website and asks the victim to download a programme that provides remote control of the computer. The caller will then install various `fixes` for the computer, and once completed request a 185 pound subscription for preventing further problems.
 
However, the victim is unaware that there is nothing wrong with their computer and that the caller does not work for Microsoft. In fact the caller now has access to all the data on the computer.

This scam can take many forms. The caller in some cases may not state that they are calling on behalf of Microsoft - the caller may state that they are calling from various other companies such as `Virgin Media`, `AVG` or from other online security companies. 

We would urge individuals to remain vigilant when receiving phone calls from any individual purporting to be from any of the companies named above or any others. It is highly unlikely that Internet providers or Internet security providers will contact you via telephone to rectify a security issues with a householder/business computer. The security of the computer sits with the owner.



AVG Internet Security Provider Scam
 
This scam may affect both your home & business computer systems, depending on whether you have AVG Internet Security installed on them. If you do not have AVG installed this scam will not effect you. However, if you do have AVG installed, there is no need to panic.
 
The scam takes the form of the screen appearing to be blocked and then states that the annual subscription will need renewing immediately before it will allow you to access the Internet. The page will then request your credit card details. If you receive this blockage or email you are advised to try and delete it immediately.
 
AVG are aware of this scam. There does appear to be a few different versions of this scam floating around at the moment. If you are an AVG customer and are unable to delete the e-mail / blockage from your computer please contact AVG direct on 0844 894 1000 and they should be able to assist you.
 

DVLA Email Scam
This scam is taking the form of an email circulating with regards to DVLA. The email requests individuals to provide their personal details due to a database upgrade. The email is usually in a similar format to the one below:
  
From: DVLA
Subject: Update Your License Details
We are currently upgrading our database and all drivers are required to update and verify there driver's license details. To complete your license verification with us, you are required to fill out the form in the link below.
 
{Fake link}
 
Drivers that refuse to upgrade his or her details within two weeks of receiving this verification email will lose his or her driver's license and will have to take a fresh driving test.
 
We sincerely apologise for any inconveniences this might have caused you.
Thank you for your co-operation.
(c) Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency Swansea SA6 7JL
 
If you receive emails like the one shown above you are advised not to respond to it and to delete it immediately.
 
This warning has also been published on the Directgov website.

Please remain vigilant when receiving emails from any source that you are unfamiliar with. It is not common practice for such organisations and banks to communicate via email with regards to updating personal information; the usual method is via letter. 
If you are in doubt always check the sender information, and if you are unsure make contact with the organisation to confirm whether the email is genuine. 

You are advised not to give out personal details via email or the Internet unless you are sure this is a genuine site and has the necessary Internet security measures in place to protect your personal information.



Mobile Phone Scam

These scams target individuals by sending marketing text messages to their mobile phone. Often these text messages require a response and will then proceed to attempt to retrieve an individual`s personal and financial details which can then be passed on or sold to companies and other scammers. 

Trading Standards are aware of these scams and have offered the following advice;
 
The usual advice for consumers who receive unwanted marketing text messages is to send an `unsubscribe` text message back simply saying `STOP`.  However, if you believe the text message to be a scam text message we would advise not to reply to the text message, as this would indicate that the phone number is live and would probably cause further text messages to be sent.
 
Individuals that have replied to these text messages have received follow-up calls from callers purporting to be from a government debt advice agency asking for personal and financial details.
 
Orange, Vodafone and O2 have all got numbers for customers to forward spam texts to for free;
 
Orange: If you are an Orange customer and receive spam text messages, please forward them to 7726 free from your Orange phone. By doing this you are helping Orange to collate information to help reduce spam messages being sent to you and others in future.
Vodafone: If you are a Vodaphone customer please forward the unwanted text messages to VSPAM (shortcode 87726).
O2: If you are an O2 customer spam text messages can be forwarded to O2 on 7726.

Users of other mobile networks who get regular spam messages should contact their network provider for advice.
Anyone who believes they are victim to a scam should report it to ActionFraud on 03001232040.


BT Phone Scam

In some areas across the country, incidents have been reported by BT customers who have received a phone call purporting to be from BT, usually on the pretence of an outstanding bill and is told if they don`t pay straight away, their line will be disconnected. 

The suspect appears to have some knowledge with regards to the BT customer, for example, if they have recently changed supplier, or have ongoing problems with a bill.
If the victim challenges this or becomes suspicious, the suspect tells advises them that they can prove during the call that they are able to disconnect the line.
Under the threat of losing their phone connection, the victim is then duped into providing bank account details. During some calls the suspect states there is a problem with the card details provided and the victim then gives details of other bankcards.

Although BT confirm they do have debt handling procedures which may involve calling customers, please note that BT never carry out disconnections during the call by way of proof – if this happens, you are likely to be speaking to someone totally unconnected with BT. Do not pass any personal or financials details.

If you have any concerns, terminate the call and contact BT directly.


 

 

Parcel Scam

The parcel scam has taken place in numerous forms such as those outlined below. 

The delivery of a package for a neighbour that requires payment. The unsuspecting victim, pays for the delivery in good faith only to find out when they pass the parcel on that it contains worthless junk and the neighbour knows nothing about it. The Victim received a call beforehand from a person claiming to be a solicitor who politely requested that the victim receive and pay a taxi driver for the urgent package as the neighbour may not be available. The amounts paid where in excess of 50 pounds each time.

A second method is where a delivery slip is left at the property with a premium rate number to call to rearrange delivery of the package. Please do not call this number as it is a scam.

Both of these methods are Scams. Please be aware of this scam and the different methods that are being used to target the community, and inform your friends, family and neighbours. Please be cautious when receiving any calls and / or literature regarding the delivery of parcels. If you are not expecting a parcel then it most likely is a scam. Before accepting any parcels for neighbours, please ensure that you check to see if your Neighbour is awaiting a parcel delivery.
 



Protected Trademarks Scam

Please be aware that if you are thinking of applying for trademark protection for your business, there are certain scammers out there who try to get money from you when registering your business details.

This type of scam has been around for a number of years and in recent years applications and owners of some UK trademarks have been contacted by the bogus `European Institute for Economy and Commerce (EIEC). They send out invoices that look official but in fact are fake, claiming for their services in adding your company to a `protected trademarks register`.

It has been confirmed by the Intellectual Property Office that UK businesses do not have to submit this information as part of an application for a trademark. Businesses are advised to disregard these invoices as they are a scam. The Intellectual Property Office also claim that there is no such organisation as the EIEC.

Please be aware that there may be other companies that are sending out such scam mail, so ensure that all invoices are checked before payment is sent.

The only bodies that have any ability to provide legal protection for patents, designs and trade marks in the UK are the IP, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Community Trade Mark Office.

If you have received one of these scam invoices, this should be ignored.
If you would like to take a look at examples of scam invoices these can be found on the websites of the European Patent Office, the Community Trade Mark Office and the World Intellectual Property Organisation


Crime Prevention Unit Scam

This scam has been active for some time now and has recently been active within Nottinghamshire.

The caller states that they are calling from the `Crime Prevention Unit` and states that it has been some time since they have made contact and is checking that things are OK.
 
Please be advised that these calls have not been made by the Crime Prevention Unit of Nottinghamshire Police. Please also be advised that any representative from Nottinghamshire Police should always state their full Name, Job Role and give their contact details. The representative should also give the person they are calling the option to call them back through the main Nottinghamshire Police switchboard to authenticate their call.
 
If you are suspicious of such calls and are unable to authenticate the call you are advised not to provide the caller with any details about yourself of your business.


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