We just wanted to remind everyone that sadly scammers and hackers have not stopped their attacks and are using the current situation to defraud people. Please think before you click on a link in an email or text message. If you are not sure please ask for help. If you think a message feels suspicious you are probably right.

Phishing Emails/Fake Text Messages & Apps

There are currently numerous bogus emails and text messages circulating, appearing to come from official bodies, such as the Government, World Health Organisation and US Centre for Disease control. They contain links which are designed to download malicious software (i.e. viruses) to your device, or to take you to a website that will collect your personal and financial details.

 

There are a variety of forms these emails can take, some of which are shown below. These can include:

-          Offering a tax rebate

-          Demanding payment of a fine

-          Asking for donations

-          Linking to a map of the spread of Coronavirus

 

The advice remains the same – if an email is unexpected do not click on any links, simply delete the email.

 

Use the ABC approach:

A. Never Assume they are legitimate.

B. Never Believe they are legitimate.

C. Always Confirm using a trusted number or asking friends and family.

Fake Products/Websites

A man has already appeared in court for making fake coronavirus testing/treatment kits and selling them worldwide. These kits contain harmful chemicals, and police are warning anyone who had bought one of these kits not to use it. Report to Action Fraud, quoting "Trinity CV19 treatment kits".

During this time, be aware of fake websites and suspicious links. Criminals will advertise products they know to be in short supply, such as hand sanitiser, face masks and ‘treatments’.

Claims like ‘100% safe’, ‘No side effects’ and ‘Quick results’ should be warning signs.

 

Fake Emails

There are a number of fake emails also circulating claiming to be from health organisations (such as the World Health Organisation or US Centre for Disease Control), with attached ‘safety advice’ which when clicked downloads malware to infect the device.

Ensure you check where an email has come from – is the email address suspicious?

Never click on any suspicious links or open any documents on emails that you were not expecting – do not let your curiosity get the better of you!

 

Elderly individuals targeted by doorstep scammers.

The elderly are being increasingly targeted by doorstep scammers due to their increased isolation from family and friends. Criminals are posing as police and health officials, sometimes offering to carry out a coronavirus test on their doorstep in exchange for cash.

Be vigilant. As always, do not accept offers on the doorstep.

Always confirm who the person is using a trusted number – genuine officials will always wait.

Thieves offering to shop for the elderly and then keeping their money.

Thieves posing as good Samaritans are offering to complete shopping trips on behalf of the elderly, before keeping he money or bank cards that are handed over.

Treat such invitations with caution.

Never hand over your bank card or details.

If vulnerable people are using others to do their shopping, ensure it is someone they know or from a trusted source.

Pension Exploitation

Pension savers have been warned to be extra vigilant of criminals seeking to prey on people anxieties amid the pandemic. As markets are affected and people seek to increase their savings, it may make people look to make snap decisions that could have serious consequences.

As always, the advice remains – do not respond to cold callers.

Take your time to think things through carefully and do your own research (even if you are being offered a ‘limited time deal’).

If something is too good to be true – it usually is!

Delivery Scams
We are warning residents to stay vigilant following an increase in reports of people receiving unexpected packages from couriers. There have been a number of victims in Hertfordshire, and more recently in Bishop’s Stortford, where victims have received deliveries they had not ordered. A short while later a woman wearing a DPD courier uniform has arrived to collect the packages, claiming they had been delivered to the wrong address. In the reported instances the packages have contained either iPhones or laptops and have been despatched by AO.
Detective Chief Inspector Sam Khanna, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit said: “We want all residents to be aware of this potential fraud. If goods are delivered that you have not ordered and are marked with your address you should inform the company that sent it and wait for them to send a courier.
Always check with them which courier company is making the collection and when they will arrive. If someone knocks on the door claiming to have come to pick it up after it was delivered by mistake, think twice about handing it over. Are they from the same company that just delivered it? Can you see a company vehicle? Just because they are in a uniform does not mean they are from the company as they claim.
“If someone tries to deliver a parcel you’ve not ordered, refuse to accept it so that it goes back to the depot or the sender. If you have handed a parcel over please report it to Action Fraud. If someone is at your door claiming to have come to pick up a parcel you never ordered ring 999.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary offers the following crime prevention advice:
• If possible, don’t accept or sign for parcels you haven’t ordered.
• If a parcel you have received is not something you have ordered, you should not hand the parcel over to someone calling at your door unless you have made a prior arrangement for its collection and you are able to check the identity of the caller.
• If you realise a parcel you have received is something you have not ordered, you should immediately contact the company to arrange for its collection. Remember to ask how to ensure the identity of the person collecting it.
• If you have already handed over a package in the circumstances described contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via www.actionfraud.police.uk.

If you or someone you know is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud, please call Essex Police on 101.
Report fraud or attempted fraud by contacting Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

Essex Courier Fraud
I would like to draw your attention to a large number of these offences that are occurring across Essex, from Epping to Tendring to Leigh on Sea, and even spreading into bordering counties.

 

The criminals are contacting elderly victims claiming to be from the bank, then within a very short time frame they attend the victims home purporting to be a courier to collect the victims bank card and to replace with a new card.
They leave the victim with an envelope containing what feels like a bank card but transpires to be a gift card. The offenders then leave to withdraw victims money.

We have had a number of reports of men acting as the courier, often wearing a hi visibility jacket – although this may not always be the case. We are asking all residents to be aware and to ensure that this message is passed on to friends and family members, or those who are in self-isolation. If we can follow the idea of ‘Tell2’ – if you tell two people, who then tell two people etc, we can reach enormous numbers of people. An unbroken chain of 26 ‘Tell2’ would reach 67 million people! Please spread this message to protect our elderly and vulnerable people. It starts with you!