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The Fraud & Scam Bulletin

West Mercia

A message from West Mercia Police on the latest scams and frauds — January 2022

Welcome to our first monthly Bulletin highlighting current fraud trends in our area. This month we are focusing on two types of Fraud about which we have had multiple reports from the public and how you can keep safe.

Romance fraud – What is it?

You are convinced to make a payment to a person you may have met through social media platforms, dating websites and Apps, or Gaming sites.

Fake profiles are used by criminals in an attempt to build a relationship with you – this is often known as “Catfishing”.

Criminals use information found on social media to create fake identities to target you with the scam, often looking for profiles saying you are single, widowed or divorced.

They will go to great lengths to gain your trust and convince you that you have found a genuine relationship before appealing to your compassionate side to ask for money.

Criminals use language to manipulate, persuade and exploit so that requests for money do not raise any alarm bells.

These requests might be highly emotive, such as criminals claiming they need money for emergency medical care, or to pay for transport costs to visit you from overseas.

If you are speaking to someone online that you have not met in person, stop and think. It could protect your heart and your money.

Never give your bank details to someone online that you have never met, and if you are in any doubt about the person’s honesty, speak to a friend or family member. If they have tried to take money from you, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the website: www.actionfraud.police.uk

A rising number of similar Frauds using WhatsApp have been seen in recent weeks in our area which residents need to be aware of.

NEW WhatsApp FRAUD —

The suspect will send the victim a message via WhatsApp claiming to be their son/daughter/friend and that they have had to change their phone number.

The suspect then asks for money for debt repayment/to buy a new phone/asking to pay outstanding bills.

The victim then ends up sending money to the fraudster believing this is going to an actual relative or friend.

This type of Scam is becoming more frequent.

Always remember:

STOP : Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

CHALLENGE : Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT : Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

For further information visit: www.actionfraud.police.uk and www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

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