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‘Foiling the Phone Scammer ‘

We are reminding people to be careful of phone scammers after several reports of bogus callers claiming to be police or security companies. 

?There have several incidents in North Somerset and South Gloucestershire over the month where residents have received a call on their landline from someone purporting to be from either the police or a security company

An elderly couple in Clevedon, North Somerset, received a call from a man claiming to be from "The Crime Reduction Unit" of the police. He was trying to persuade the couple to buy an alarm for £1.00 that would connect them to the local police and fire service. 

He also wanted to make an appointment to visit their home. They weren't sure about the man so they hung up and told their neighbour who alerted the police.

In a similar vein, an elderly lady in South Gloucestershire was made aware of a potential scam after a friend received a call. When she then got a phone call herself she was prepared. 

She was called by a man who stated he was from a security company wanting to conduct a home survey. She asked for the proposal to be put in writing and for a letter to be sent with some literature to her so she could speak to her son, at which point the man put the phone down. 

PC Fin Simmons from Avon and Somerset Police said: 

"I encourage people to take care when they receive unsolicited calls from people. The two ladies who received calls did exactly the right thing in trying to get the person to prove their identity. Reputable companies or genuine callers will be happy to prove who they are and provide indentification".

It's important to reiterate, the more we talk about these scams, the more people are made aware of them the less likely they are to become victims. Please spread the word to your reletives, neighbours, colleagues and friends, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable. "If you are unsure of anyone asking you for details, we would advise you to be overly cautious. There are some simple but effective measures people can take to minimise the risk of becoming a victim of these scams".

If someone claims to be from a company check their details, look at their website and see if they have any testimonials. Call the company, but don't use the number the caller gives you. Look one up on the internet or in a phone directory, before you make the call, either use a different telephone or wait for a dialling tone to ensure the bogus callers are still not on the line.

If the person claims to be from the local police, always ask for their collar number or staff I.D. number.

Every officer or staff member has one. You can then call 101 to check they are who they say they are.

Don't release ant personal information including any bank details that could be exploited unless you have confirmed the caller is genuine and reputable and you actually need waht is being offered.

The police and the banks will never ask you for banking details or PIN numbers on the phone.

If you have information about any crime, phone the police on 101 or you

can call anonymously to the independent charity CRIMESTOPPERS  0800 555 111.

For general information about Neighbourhood Watch nationally

see the www.ourwatch.org.uk website.

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