Census 21 Text Scams and other scam warnings
Free Gift Pop Ups Warning
Warwickshire residents have been caught out by scam computer pop ups offering free gifts. To receive their free gift, consumers are asked to input their credit or debit card details to pay for postage and packaging. £1 is usually taken immediately. However, what consumers don’t realise to that they may have unwittingly signed up to a subscription service (for example for face creams or health supplements) and authorised a continuous payment authority. Later on larger amounts of money, usually close to £100 is taken and this continues on a monthly basis until the continuous payment authority is cancelled.
More about continuous payment authority: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/recurring-payments/
Continuous payment authority and subscription scams: https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/subscription-traps/
Recycling Banks – Know the Difference!
Recycling banks for clothing and shoes etc. often located in car parks or other public places are a common site and many people use them in the belief that their donations will always benefit charitable causes.
However, not all charity recycling banks are genuine. Scammers sometimes place bogus charity banks amongst genuine ones! These often appear to look like genuine charity recycling banks.
Residents are advised that if you want to ensure that your unwanted items will benefit a charity, read the information on the recycling bins first. Genuine charity bins will usually carry the name and registered number of the charity. You can look up a charity here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission
Recycling banks are also operated by private businesses that collect for profit. These are usually marked with a business name and sometimes a limited company number. Some may be signed ‘commercial recycling’.
Scammers Turn from National Insurance Numbers to NHS Numbers in Telephone Scam
Scammers are now cold calling Warwickshire residents to tell them that their NHS number has been suspended, Warwickshire Trading Standards is warning. Recipients of these bogus recorded phone calls are encouraged to press a number to speak to someone to ‘resolve the problem’. Victims are pressured in to handing over personal and financial information in order to obtain a new NHS number. The more a fraudster knows about you, the easier it is for them to commit identity theft and other frauds.
Never provide cold callers with any personal or financial information.
Help and advice on identity theft: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/identity-fraud-and-identity-theft
‘Met Police’ Scam
Warwickshire residents have reported receiving bogus phone calls from people claiming to be from the Met (or Metropolitan) Police. The callers claim that the resident’s debit card has been used recently. These bogus callers then attempt to get the call recipient to reveal personal and financial information and may ask them to move their money to a ‘safe’ account that is really controlled by the scammer.
Bank transfer scams: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/what-to-do-if-you-re-the-victim-of-a-bank-transfer-app-scam-aED6A0l529rc
Census 21 Text Scam
Despite the Census having been completed, some people are still receiving bogus Census text messages. One reads: ‘CENSUS: There is missing information from your Census application. Failure to update your details may result in a £1000 penalty’. A link then directs the recipient to a scam website.
Another text message states that the recipient has not completed and returned their CENSUS form. Again it threatens the recipient with a £1000 fine and directs them to click on a link in the text message to resolve the matter.
Always treat text messages with caution. Avoid clicking on links in text messages where at all possible. If you think a text message is genuine, visit the organisation or business website by typing the genuine web address in to the web browser.
The Government state on their website that now Census Day has passed, they are sending letters to everyone who hasn’t returned their census. If you receive any sort of communication purporting to be from the census and are not sure if the letter, email or text is genuine or not, you can contact the census to check.
Census has advisers available to help you at the following times:
- Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
- Saturday, 8am to 1pm
Telephone free: 0800 141 2021 (England)