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Alert message sent 03/03/2022 17:42:00

Information sent on behalf of Neighbourhood Watch

Times of crisis can bring out the best in people, but they are a magnet for scammers, and sadly right now is no different.

Fraudsters follow the headlines and have already been working overtime to create ways to encourage people to part with their cash and personal information. We saw this with the Australian bush fires in January 2020 and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you are looking to help people in Ukraine, please donate wisely – do your research first so you give without getting scammed.  One such scam that is circulating is saying that they are from the Red Cross.

Please protect yourself with the following information:

Scammers will pretend to be legitimate well-known charities, creating their own charity names, and impersonating people impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Scammers will be cold-calling, direct messaging and creating fake websites and pages on social media to raise funds. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments in unsolicited emails, texts or social media messages. They may attempt to lure you into unwittingly downloading malware onto your device or take you to a fake website to steal your money and personal information.

Do not donate via fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.

Be careful about crowdfunding requests as these may be fake and also come from scammers. Check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations. If you are unsure, make your donation to an established charity instead.

If you think you have paid money to a scammer, please contact your bank immediately.
If you have received a contact which you believe to be a scam you can also report it to Citizens Advice consumer helpline, on freephone 0808 223 1133.

Criminals are still targeting parents via WhatsApp by pretending to be a child in need of financial help. Consumer magazine Which reports that this sinister con is already thought to have parted £50,000 from the pockets of concerned parents across the UK. 

Other variations of this WhatsApp scam are: “Hi Dad (or Mum) new number changed from provider. Will you save this one?  Let me know when you’ve saved it.”

A Newbury resident received a WhatsApp message coming from  +44 7494 410603 saying "hello mum this is my new number as I had damaged my phone, so you can contact me on here.”  She did respond thinking it was her son as this was not the first time he had broken a phone.  The message went on to say "I am not good today I am very stressed" which she thought was a little strange for her son to say that, however she did ask what was wrong and the message said he had to pay an outstanding bill today but had no access on his new phone to his account for 48 hrs. Fortunately, she did not fall for this scam and make the requested payment.

Angela Money BEM
Neighbourhood Watch
Message sent by
Angela Money (NWN, Multi Scheme Administrator, Thames Valley, West Berkshire LPA)

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