Latest scams – don’t be caught out

Hi all

I just thought I write a post warning you about some of the scams that are becoming very common at the moment.   I’d be upset to see anyone in  our GP trainer and training community get caught and stung by these.  Here is a list.  Remember,  if you are unsure about someone calling you out of the blue – hang up.  Nearly all companies will NOT ring you!   Instead, you ring the company back, and use the official number, not the one the person on the phone gives you!

There are so many people out there trying to relieve you of your money at the moment so be careful!

LIST OF SCAMS

  • I’ve just received a phone call purporting to come from Virgin Media – I was told that their computers had detected some problems with my router over the last few days and rather than send out an engineer in these COVID lockdown days they wanted to try and fix it online. I know from someone who was taken in by this that they would then have got me to log in to my computer in order to download some software onto my computer which would analyse the problem when in fact what they do is install some software that would spy on my usage of the computer in order to detect when I do any online banking or other financial transactions. When I suggested that my router had been switched off for the last few days because we had been away (we haven’t!) the phone line went dead!
  • Another phone call purported to come from Microsoft – again their computers had detected that there was some strange traffic coming from my computer and that it might have some major problem or had been hacked, would I go to a particular website and install a piece of software which would analyse the problem and fix it, again no doubt that the software would be spyware of some sort and they were trying to relieve my bank of its contents. I have received this call several times now and just tell them that it is strange that my Apple computer is reporting such messages to them!
  • If anyone phones you up that you don’t know, claims to be from one of the big companies like Virgin or Microsoft and asks you to visit a website to install software then DON’T! You are likely to end up out of pocket. If you have problems with your Internet connection or someone phones to tell you this ask them for a reference number and then ring off and phone the organisation using a known number. If they know nothing about it then it’s a scam. If someone phones about your computer then ring someone you trust to help with your computer (there is no point in phoning Microsoft or Apple!) Make sure your computer has a good antivirus/security software (see https://uk.pcmag.com/antivirus/8141/the-best-antivirus-protection ) to help protect you.
  • I had a text yesterday from TSB saying that they’d got the wrong phone number for me, and giving me an 0800 number to ring. Almost fell for is, but I googled the number they had given me and it turned out to be a scam. Checked with my bank, and all is well.
  • Just been told another. because Christmas is approaching fast you may get a card from fakers claiming to be  PDS (parcel delivery service).  the Parcel will say that ‘we could not deliver your parcel, please phone this number to arrange collection’.  the number is a high-cost number 0906 6611911 and will cost you £315..  Instead, report it to royal mail fraud team 020 7239 6655
  • ‘You and Yours’ programme on Radio 4 did a piece on these type of Scams over the week. COVID has unleashed a real wave of them, unfortunately.   One of the things I find helpful is to check the email addresses. Usually, if it’s a scam the address looks a bit weird and I don’t open it and I would second all the other advice re phone calls

SOURCES OF HELP

There are lots of practical steps you can take to protect yourself against fraud and many outstanding resources available to you, for instance:

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