The national policing lead for fraud is warning of scam calls selling fake policies on white goods as lockdown continues.
The City of London Police (CoLP) is working with National Trading Standards to detect and disrupt criminal activity using data from their call blocker units, which have been shown to block 99% of scam calls in new data released.
As the national policing lead for fraud, CoLP is particularly concerned about the amount of scam calls targeting the elderly and vulnerable, who, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will be staying home and often, managing without the support network of their friends and family.
Detective Constable Chris Glover, from the City of London Police’s Fraud Investigation Team, said: “Sadly, criminals are still taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and we’ve seen a high number of illegitimate companies using high pressure sales techniques to flog bogus warranty policies to people over the phone. A lot of these scam calls are targeting the elderly, encouraging them to hand over their bank details when signing up for a non-existent policy which they claim is to cover breakdown or repair work on white goods, such as washing machines and fridges.
“We’re asking anyone that receives a call like this to take a moment to stop and think about whether they really need what is being offered, or whether it could be a scam. Remember, only criminals will try to rush and panic you.”
The National Trading Standards’ call blocker programme, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, revealed the top three scam call types being blocked by the units were:
- White goods insurance – Cover for appliances such as: fridges, freezers and washing machines
- Impersonation callers and spoofed numbers – NHS, BT, Amazon, water companies, fake goods such as CBD (Cannabidiol) oil
- Domestic home repairs – boiler service and drainage work
- Remember, your bank will never ask you for your banking password or PIN over the phone. They will never ask you to move money out of your account or withdraw cash.
- Be suspicious of any unexpected phone calls, text messages or emails that are trying to sell you something. Especially if they contact you persistently and use time-limited offers to try and force you into making a decision quickly. No legitimate company will rush or pressure you to make a financial transaction on the spot.
- Speak to someone you trust before purchasing anything – getting a second opinion from a family member or friend could help prevent you falling for a scam.
- Never assume a phone call is authentic just because the caller knows your basic details such as your name or address. Criminals will go to great lengths to make themselves seem legitimate and trustworthy. They can even spoof the phone numbers of real companies. If you have any suspicions, it’s OK to take your time, challenge the caller or even just hang up.
If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040, and inform your bank as soon as possible.