March 2022 Scams

Scams Caution: frequent scams from 2021 that are resurfacing this year

1. ‘There’s a problem with your Amazon account’
This scam targets victims through phone calls using a recorded message that prompts you to call back to fix an issue with your account. Sometimes a real person may be calling from a call centre. They may threaten to close your account if you don’t act quickly – which usually means handing over your payment details. Amazon never calls customers like this, unless it’s to follow up on an issue you’ve raised.

2. ‘Your National Insurance number has been compromised’
One phone scam that peaked last year and continues to do the rounds, is a recorded voice message claiming to be from the National Crime Agency.

If you listen carefully, you can tell that the recorded voice is not a real person speaking – it’s a ‘bot’ that’s been auto-generated by software. The call tells you to ‘press 1 to be connected to an agent.’ But this is a hotline to a scammer who will try to extract information and bank details from you. The National Crime Agency doesn’t communicate with members of the public. Realistically, there’s not much someone could do with your National Insurance number without other personal information either.

3. ‘You’ve missed a delivery’
The most common text message scams last year were warnings about missed deliveries or outstanding delivery charges. The delivery company most impersonated last year was Royal Mail, according to the number of reports received, followed by Hermes and DPD.

Other text scams operating like this include fake texts from banks. The message is often an alert that a new payee has been set up or an unknown transfer has taken place, which asks the recipient to click on the link to check the details. The link takes them to a cloned bank website which will likely ask for login details, PIN, and other personal information. Avoiding clicking on links in texts is your best bet to avoid text scams.

4. ‘Apply for your Covid passport now’
Many people have reported texts, calls and emails impersonating the NHS. Be aware that there are some very convincing cloned NHS websites which are cleverly designed to dupe us into entering sensitive information e.g. thinking they were booking their vaccinations.

The key thing to remember is that Covid services are always free on the NHS to British Citizens and those who reside in the UK. Be suspicious of anyone claiming to be from the NHS asking for money or payment information.

David Rose

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