Scams Awareness Updates.

July is Scams Awareness Month and we are doing our utmost to raise awareness (as always) to try to help protect our community. Thank you for all your assistance and please do continue to share the messages amongst your community as you feel appropriate. The more residents aware of scams, the more protected our communities become. I’m aware that my emails are quite long so I’ve picked out the most important information if you wish to skim!

I hope you will be pleased to hear that my contract has been extended until next March and I am really looking forward to continuing and expanding the work I’m doing in the community. I’m really pleased to be staying on in the Community Protection Team for a bit longer. If you know of any groups or clubs that might welcome a scams awareness talk or some information please pass on my contact details. Also, we are starting to hear anecdotal feedback and examples of how Good Neighbours and No Cold Calling Zones are supporting their community or any particular individuals. It would be lovely to hear of any of your stories if the schemes are proving useful in your area, please let me know if you have any feedback. 

We have had a very nasty scam in Cambridgeshire recently (indeed I believe the scammers also visited my mother). Police are urging residents to be vigilant following a spate of rogue trading targeting elderly people. The offender has been offering to do gardening work at a reasonable price for elderly victims. However, he asks them to pay up front to cover the cost of tools and then doesn’t complete the agreed work. In St Ives £100 and £450 has been taken in two separate incidents and in Huntingdon £750 has been taken. He is described as white, 5’7-8″, aged in his early 40s, with short dark receding hair. Please warn neighbours, if he needs money for tools he is clearly in the wrong job!
We have also had a report of a local phone scam; a resident has received a bogus call from someone purporting to be from Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) trying to elicit property information.  Whilst on the subject of phones; please also watch out for the ‘missed call’ scam. (See the Ofcom website for more information). Victims receive a missed call from a number beginning 070 or 076. These numbers are used as they appear to be calls from a mobile phone number. However, when the victim tries to call the number back, the call is immediately dropped or an engaged tone is played and the victim is charged 50p for making the call. If you receive a missed call from a number beginning 070 or 076 that you do not recognise, do not call it back. Instead, make a note of the number and complain to the premium rate regulator, Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) either by phone: 0300 30 300 20, through their website or in writing: Phone-paid Services Authority, 25th Floor, 40 Bank Street, London, E14 5NR.

Please beware of the email scam claiming to be from HMRC alerting you to a tax refund you are owed. This email looks pretty authentic!


If you receive this e-mail or any other purporting to be from HMRC please forward it to HMRC’s phishing team [email protected]. Also I’ve heard a number of complaints recently about phone callers purporting to be HMRC – some even threatening jail I believe. So that’s one to beware of too.

 Finally, The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites. The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely to not exist. Action Fraud have some very good advice regarding protecting yourself from this scam, here. 

As always, please let me know if you no longer wish to receive these updates and of course, enjoy your summer and keep safe. 

Kind Regards,
Elaine Mountfort
Community Protection Officer
Corporate and Customer Services Directorate


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