West Berkshire Community Policing have issued the following information to residents about the latest scams to be aware of.

There are a number of scams at the moment and some have been doing the rounds for a number of years and also some new ones.

1. The Amazon Prime scam involves victims receiving an automated call informing them that they have been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription and to press 1 to cancel the transaction.  Do not press 1 or any other number mentioned on any of the automated scams.

2. Fake emails and texts pretending to be from TV Licensing or DVLA. 

3. HMRC automated phone call scam which will tell you that they are filing a lawsuit against you, and to press 1 to speak to a caseworker to make a payment.  If you receive such a call, please put the phone down immediately.   The callers use a variety of numbers and HMRC would like you to report full details of the scam by email to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk including date of the call, phone number and content of the call. 

4. Halifax, TSB, Lloyds and other banking scams are being sent by text, automated phone call or email, so do not respond and always go to the genuine websites or phone your bank if you wish confirmation that this is a scam. 

5. BT scam via email advising “our payment processor has detected incorrect or out of date billing information which needs updating immediately. Please log into your MyBt account by clicking the buttton below, and update your billing information to prevent suspension or termination of your service(s)”.

6. Cadbury’s competition on Facebook asking you to like or share this post to other people.  By sharing, tagging, and commenting, you’ll be spamming on behalf of the scammers and exposing your friends and family to the scam as well.  This time of year there are Supermarket voucher scams and other competitions on Facebook, so please do not fall for them.

7. Trading Standards and Action Fraud are making people aware of the following email scam, which is a hoax and the email asks you to circulate this around especially as Christmas is fast approaching - and that it has been confirmed by Royal Mail:
 
“A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a premium rate number).  DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize.  If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £315 for the phone call.

PhonepayPlus, is aware that a chain e-mail about an alleged postal scam is being circulated on the internet. The email refers to the Royal Mail, Trading Standards and ICSTIS (PhonepayPlus' former name).

PhonepayPlus appreciates that recipients of the email may want to find out more information about the alleged scam and has therefore issued the following statement:   The chain email refers to a service (operating on 0906 6611911) that was shut down by PhonepayPlus (then ICSTIS) in December 2005.  PhonepayPlus subsequently fined the company that was operating the service, Studio Telecom (based in Belize), £10,000. If you receive this email just delete it and do not forward it to anyone.

8. Courier Scam and Courier Delivery Scam.  Two very different scams and there are variations of these, which have both happened locally over the last few weeks.
 
8a.Courier Scam.  In most cases of courier fraud, a fraudster phones their victim and claims to be from their bank, the police or other law enforcement authority. They then con the victim into revealing their PIN and credit or debit card details.   

Examples of courier fraud:  A scammer calls you, claiming to be from your bank or a police officer. They tell you either that a fraudulent payment has been spotted on your card that needs sorting out, your card has been cloned or that someone has been arrested using your details and card.  You may be asked to call your bank using the phone number on the back of your card.  This convinces you that the call is genuine but the scammer has kept the line open at their end, so when you make the call, you are unknowingly connected straight back to them or their friends.  They’ll either ask you for your PIN or ask you to key it into your phone. No bank or other legitimate service will ever ask you for your PIN.  The scammer then sends a courier or taxi to pick up the card from your home. Even the driver may not know they’re being used as part of the scam.  Once the scammer has both your card and PIN they can withdraw cash and spend in retail outlets or online. 

If you should receive a similar call and they ask you to phone your Bank, come off the line and use another phone to contact your Bank.   These people are crafty as they put a recording of the dialling tone by the phone so that you are fooled into dialling your Bank but the call has not been disconnected.  Please remember that your Bank or the Police will never arrange to collect your bank card and would never ask for your PIN.  If you receive this type of call, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website. In an emergency, dial 999.

8b. The Courier Delivery Scam.  You receive a phone call, either before, or just after the delivery of a parcel, usually containing new mobile phones, laptops etc., which you did not order.  The person on the phone explains that there has been a terrible mistake and the parcel has been delivered to you in error.  He/she will send someone to collect it immediately and ask you to leave it outside your front door, so that they do not have to disturb you.  A person arrives, collects the parcel and drives off.
 
The fraudster has created an account in your name using your card details and ordered the product(s), they can track their delivery online and be outside your house for when they arrive.  In one case, the victim took down the car registration number of the man who collected the parcel.  The Police checked the vehicle details and the owner’s address but the householder was completely innocent. There was no way to track or trace the offenders and the poor victim got the bill.
 
A local resident recently had a delivery of a laptop and shortly afterwards had a knock on the door to say it had been delivered to them in error and they had not received a phone call.  It appears that this had been ordered from Amazon using their address and their credit card but the fraudster had given his mobile number so that they would know when it was going to be delivered.  Fortunately, the resident acted quickly and stopped the card transaction being made.

If this happens to you and you are not expecting a parcel, phone the Police on 101 or tell the Courier that you have taken the package to the Police Station and he can collect it from there!  

Neighbourhood Policing Administrator – West Berkshire LPA, Police Station, Mill Lane, Newbury, Berks RG14 5QU