Police fraud worker issues top tips to beat scammers

Avon and Somerset Police fraud officers

Fraud officers work to help people avoid being scammed - Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A fraud protection officer has given some top tips on avoiding scammers as we enter 2022.

The fraud protect officer, known only as Amy, works for Avon and Somerset Police and is urging people to be on their guard against online and phone scammers.

Her top tips are:

Passwords – use strong passwords which are different for each of your accounts.

Privacy – just as you lock your front door, you should also keep strangers out of your social media profiles by adjusting your privacy settings.

Share with care – personal information is gold to a scammer, so be careful what you share online and protect your identity.

Shop, but don’t drop – be careful not to drop your guard when online shopping in the sales. Don’t be caught out by convincing fake websites, always use the recommended payment method and never move communications away from auction site platforms.

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Romance Fraud – Unfortunately, we see a spike in Romance Fraud around Christmas time. Stay on the dating or social media site and remember how easy it is to set up a fake profile. The bottom line is that no genuine relationship would involve you having to send money.

She also urged people to 'Take 5 and Tell 2'.

"To stay safe from the various telephone and phishing scams out there, the national advice is to Take 5 and Tell 2," she said.

"Fraudsters purposely don’t give victims time to think and usually suggest some sort of time critical emergency to panic victims into handing over their money.

"Take 5 minutes – Come off the phone (fraudsters don’t make this easy) or step away from the email or text and think about what is actually being asked of you. Make your own checks regarding the legitimacy of the call.

"Tell 2 people – speak to family members and/or friends about it and get a second and third opinion."

If you think you’ve become a victim of fraud, notify your bank or credit card provider immediately and report it to Action Fraud at any time online or on 0300 123 2040, Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.