Public warned as fraudsters try new Hertfordshire phone scam to con victims
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The public are being warned to be on their guard after a new phone scam has emerged in Hertfordshire.
Over the last year fraudsters have been making calls and claiming to be police officers or banking staff to steal cash or account details – but a new tactic has now emerged.
A number of people have received calls from criminals claiming to work for the Telephone Preference Service, a free call screening service.
Victims of the scam are told by the caller that their contract with the TPS is about to expire and needs to renewed, for which they are asked to pay – something the legitimate organisation would never do.
Other scams in operation include calls from someone claiming to be from a computer or technology company, such as Microsoft or Virgin Media, who explains that there is a problem with the victim’s computer.
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They then either go on to say they can fix the problem for a fee, or they persuade the victim to grant them remote access to their computer. This allows them to control the computer from anywhere in the world, including access to personal data, including bank account details. It also allows them to place viruses on the machine, which they will then charge the victim to remove.
There have also been reports of PPI claim scams where victims are told they can make a PPI claim for thousands of pounds, even if they have never been mis-sold any PPI. The scammers often charge hefty rates, however claiming for mis-sold PPI is a free process you can do yourself.
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Inspector Paul Lawrence from the crime prevention unit said: “We’ve been able to alert people across the county to various phone scams that have been operating, but the criminals are developing their methods all the time. This latest version of the scam has the same goal as other scams, trying to obtain money from their victims.
“If you are suspicious of a call then please end the call immediately and contact police via the non-emergency number 101. It is important that when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, you wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call or use a mobile or neighbour’s phone to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender.”
For more information about phone scams and how to avoid becoming a victim, visit www.herts.police.uk/PhoneScams.