There are a lot of scams circulating around at present online, via text or email and over the phone where criminals want to convince you to do something which they can use to their advantage.
In a scam email or text message, their goal is often to convince you to click a link. Once clicked, you may be sent to a dodgy website which could download viruses onto your computer or steal your passwords and personal information.
Over the phone, the approach may be more direct, asking you for sensitive information, such as banking details.
They do this by pretending to be someone you trust, or from some organisation you trust. This could be your Internet Service Provider, local council, even a friend in need. So please be mindful and if you receive a suspicious email, or text don't reply with your details or open any links or documents. Delete the message straight away and phone the organisation directly using the phone number found on their official website and ask them.
Social media scam affecting housing association residents:
There is one particular scam circulating on social media at present which is directly affecting housing association residents by promoting an opportunity to recover rent payments paid by direct debit ‘in error’. Victims of this scam are asked to pass their bank details onto a ‘third party’ who make the claim to the bank that the money was paid in error. The bank is asked by the third party to cancel any direct debits and to recover the money. The scammer will then either take a 50% cut of money or in some cases take all of it – plunging the victims’ rent account into arrears.
If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam or you have any questions about your rent payments or direct debits, please contact our Income Management team on 01733 396483 as soon as possible. You do not need speak to any ‘third party’ about your rent account or any other account - always speak to the organisation direct.
Top tips to protect yourself against scams:
- Never give money, credit card details or online account details to anyone you don't know and trust.
- Keep your receipts.
- Check your bank account and credit card statements.
- Report any unexplained transactions to your bank.
- Keep your bank cards safe.
- Make sure nobody else knows your PIN number.
Top tips to protect yourself against online scams:
- Check your social media privacy settings.
- Be wary of unsolicited messages.
- Choose strong and different passwords - you can stay safer online by using strong passwords.
- Update your device's software.
- Be careful when using public Wi-Fi.
You can also find out more about scams and report them on the Action Fraud website.