Fraud and Scam Awareness
Northumbria Police believe the information provided below is important to enable members of the public recognise and reject a scam if it comes their way.
What is a scam?
Quite simply, a scam is a dishonest attempt by criminals to trap you into parting with your money. They usually come by post, telephone or e mails.
Scammers are clever conmen who target and steal money from all kinds of people from all walks of life. There are numerous types of scams in existence. Sometimes, it can be easy to drop your guard but if you do, you could easily become a victim.
Types of scams include prize draws or sweepstakes, lotteries/foreign lotteries, miracle health cures, clairvoyants and psychic prediction, investment opportunities, career opportunities and online dating or person matching to name a few. All usually require an up front fee of some kind. Callers may be pleasant and look or sound very knowledgeable and professional.
Further information on specific scams can be accessed below:
Scams often have similar features that may alert you to the fact that they are not genuine.
You are asked for money up front to pay unexpected fees (such as customs) before your 'prize' can be released.
You are asked to provide your bank account, credit card details or other sensitive personal information.
You are put under pressure to reply immediately or the money will be given to someone else.
You are given some of your personal details in an effort to make you believe they are genuine.
Do you have to ring a premium rate number (one starting with 09)
Was the offer unsolicited?
Are you being asked to keep the offer a secret?
They may also offer you something for nothing, such as:
Exclusive entry into a scheme that’s a sure way to make money
The chance to join an investment scheme that will make huge amounts of money
The winning prize from a draw or lottery you haven’t even entered
Advertising opportunities in publications that don’t exist.
How scammers will succeed?
Catch you unawares, contacting you, without you asking them to, by phone, e mail post or in person.
Look or sound pleasant, well spoken and knowledgeable, they may be kind and want you to think they’re your friend
Use professional leaflets
Be persistent and rush you into a decision
Ask you to send money before you receive their tempting prize, win or offer
What should you do if you think or suspect you, a friend or relative has been scammed?
Keep all evidence that may be important, letters, e mails, diary of calls and list of any transactions.
Often friends and family who have been scammed don’t like to admit it’s happening, it’s important to raise awareness to keep them vigilant and safe.