Thursday, 22 December 2016

Scams - Part 2: Five steps to stay safe

1 Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full banking password 
A genuine bank or organisation will never ask you for these in an email, on the phone or in writing. Before you share anything with anyone, stop. Then pause to consider what you’re being asked for and question why they need it. Unless you’re 100% sure who you’re talking to, don’t disclose any personal or financial details whatsoever.

2 Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic

Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into theirconfidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud. Criminals often use this to draw you into the conversation, to scare you into acting and revealing security details. Remember, criminals can also make any telephone number appear on your phone handset so even if you recognise it or it seems authentic, do not use it as verification they are genuine.

3 Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision 

Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons. Remember to stop and take time to carefully consider your actions. A genuine bank or some other trusted organisation won’t rush you or mind waiting if you want time to think.

4 Listen to your instincts 

If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.  Criminals may lull you into a false sense of security when you are out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home. They may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.

5 Stay in control

Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations. But it’s okay to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.

Stay safe out there.

Dave Bell

UKIP councillor West Heath Ward

Scams - Part 1: What to look out for

I hate to say it but in this day and age we are surrounded by lies and deceit. You only have to watch a few minutes of adverts on the television and you will see the subtle way in which you are influenced. Listen carefully and you will spot that the phrases used are often meaningless, the car that will ‘transform your life’, alongside pictures of beautiful companions apparently now in your life. Money lenders that will give you ‘a Pay day loan’. While you see pictures of that huge new television that you want, nearly obscuring the writing showing that your repayments will be at 1000% or more. In the 60’s we called them loan sharks and they were arrested, but now it’s all legal. How did we get here? Well, I think you will find that the Tories and Labour both had spells in charge between then and now; so much for looking after the people.

Scams don’t affect me, I’ve still got all my marbles, I’m okay. Really?… have you watched the series of Derren Brown  recently? His victims cover all ages, and he successfully shows how anyone can be manipulated into situations where almost anything is possible. I must instantly point out that Derren Brown is highly respectable and has nothing to do with scamming people, but his shows and programs are a good example of how you could be tricked.

There are so many different scams that it would be impossible to list them all, but they all have some things in common:

a) At some stage Money is requested from the victim.
b) An offer will be made that seems a bargain, a bonus, generously kind
c) The scammer often pretends to represent a company or organisation that you would normally trust.
d) Once a scam has been successful the victim will be on a scammers list and will be constantly pestered.

Okay, let’s take a break, let’s go shopping. Look at all those bargains 20% off, 40% off, 50% off. “Off what” you should be saying. Well if it’s against a product, say a camera, then that camera must have been on sale for the 100% price within the previous 6 months, but those signs in the window just saying 50% off without any product reference, they mean absolutely nothing. They are just bright, large, and in your face, simply to make you think you might get a bargain inside the shop.

Let’s go home again, right loads of post, lots of leaflets, that’ll be a load of rubbish, straight in the bin ….. oops hang on to the vote Ukip one, maybe stick it in the window to keep canvassers away. Oh, oh, Phone’s ringing …. Another cold caller, wonder who it is Microsoft again or a government survey. You will all have experienced these scenarios above. We put up with these situations every day and we become used to them. So used to them that we don’t see them as ways to trick us out of our money. This article can only serve as a reminder to be wary.

Do not agree to any work at the doorstep or with people that you do not know.

Do not hand over any money for work that is not complete to your satisfaction.
If in any doubt, please ask family or friends before agreeing to expensive work.
Please keep an eye out for elderly friends or family, tell them to be wary.
Your local UKIP councillors are only too happy to call round if you have any doubts.

Dave Bell

UKIP Councillor West Heath Ward