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Cold Caller Advice

Alert message sent 30/01/2019 20:49:00

Information sent on behalf of Cumbria Police


Many legitimate businesses sell products door to door (windows, solar panels, cleaning products and home maintenance.  In addition charities will visit to ask for donations or post collection bags for you to fill and leave out for collection.  However, scammers also do the above to part you from your money, gain entry to your home to steal profit or by posing as charities in order to collect donations. 
  • Door to door scams involve selling goods or services that are not delivered or are very poor quality.  You won’t get value for money and you may get billed for work you didn’t want or didn’t agree to.
  • Some scammers conduct surveys so they can obtain your personal details or disguise their real intent to sell you goods or services you don’t want or need (unnecessary roofing work or patio replacement). 
  • Door to door sales are normally uninvited. BUT, they MUST leave if you ask them to.
  • Even when a genuine business and product is being sold, unscrupulous employees can sometimes still act illegally. 
REMEMBER – If someone knocks at your door, always examine and check their identification.
CAUTION – Never let anyone in your house, unless they are someone you know or trust.
THINK – Don’t immediately agree to any offer involving a significant amount of money, time or commitment.  Seek independent/legal advice first. 
INVESTIGATE – If you are interested in what a door to door sales person has to offer, take time to find out about their business and their offer.  Shop around to make sure you are getting a good deal.  Confirm with charities that they are collecting in the area. 

Many internet scams take place without a victim even noticing.  Ensure that you have anti-virus software and a firewall installed on your computer to keep it up to date.  If you are aware of the following precautions and apply common sense then you should be able to prevent yourself becoming a victim. 
  • Scammers can use the internet to promote fraud through unsolicited or junk E-mails known as spam.  Delete the E-mail otherwise the scammer will continue to send you more and more E-mails from lots of different addresses. 
  • Any E-mail that you receive that comes from an unknown sender is likely to be spam, if it is not actually addressed to you, and promises you some gain. 
  • If you receive an E-mail from someone that you know but it is not the usual sort of message that you get from them and it has an attachment DO NOT open the attachment.  Speak to the person who is supposed to have sent it first before you reply.  (The real sender may have infected it with a virus and forwarded it through their address book).
  • Online market places can be a lot of fun and can save you money but they are also used by scammers.  Scammers will try to steal you away from online sites and request that you use unusual payment methods e.g. Money transfer agents or Emoney (digital equivalent of cash, stored on an electronic device).  This can also be stored on and used via mobile phones or in a payment account on the internet. 
  • Scammers may claim that the buyer has pulled out of the auction you were bidding on and then offer the item to you.  Once your money has gone to them you are unlikely to hear from them again and the auction site will not be able to help you. 
  • The most common scams at the moment are for concert and event tickets, apartments, residential holiday lettings, dating and romance scams and vehicles for sale/hire (especially if hire vehicles are to be delivered to you).  Adverts and websites can be very sophisticated so do some research to ensure everything makes sense.  Consider your personal safety when meeting anyone over the internet. 
REMEMBER – Delete all messages without reading them if they are from someone you do not know.  If you open it by mistake and it has an attachment, DO NOT OPEN the attachment as it may be a virus.
CAUTION – Don’t reply to spam E-mails even to unsubscribe, and do not click on any links or call any telephone numbers listed in the spam E-mail.  Ensure you have anti-virus software or see a computer specialist. 
THINK – Never buy any item from a bidder with a poor rating.  Be wary of any request to use an unusual payment method.
INVESTIGATE – Make sure the sites are genuine as some business websites can be copied, cloned or redirected. 
  • Only give out your personal details when absolutely necessary and when you trust the person you are talking to.
  • Destroy personal information. Make sure you shred all documents, old credit and debit cards and anything else with personal details on.
  • Treat personal details like you would money. Don’t leave them lying around for others to see and take.
  • Be wary of who you give your personal details to in the street. (E.g. charities, products, competitions etc.). Do not sign up for anything until you have researched the company or charity.
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know.
  • Do not send any money or pay fees to claim prizes or lottery winnings.
  • Jobs asking you to simply use your bank account to transfer money for somebody could be a front for money laundering activity. Money laundering is a serious criminal offence and can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
  • Avoid transferring or sending any refunds or overpayments back to anyone you don’t know.
  • If anyone comes to your door, make sure you ask for identification. YOU DO NOT have to let them in and they must leave if you tell them to.
  • Before you decide to pay any money, if you are interested to what a door-to-door sales person is offering, take time to find out about their business and their offer.

  • If you receive a phone call from someone you don’t know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent. Verify this information by calling the company’s head office yourself.
  • Do not give out personal, credit card or online details over the phone unless you made the phone call and the number came from a trusted source.
  • It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers that you do not recognise. Be especially wary of phone numbers you do not know. They may charge you higher rates if you answer them and they can turn out to be very expensive.

Message sent by
Mark Robson (Police, PCSO, Eden)

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