Dear Petersfield Residents
We are sending out this Hants Alert so that you can be aware of a new trend of Gift Card fraud.
ITUNES GIFT CARDS FRAUD
Police are warning people of a trend that has hit the UK where fraudsters contact victims claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and other corporate companies. They then trick them into paying bogus debts and taxes using iTunes gift cards.
Over the past few months fraudsters have been tricking victims into buying iTunes Gift Cards and asking them to read out/send the serial code for payment in various types of fraud.
Victims are being contacted in a variety of methods by fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC and are told they owe an outstanding debt. In the hundreds of cases reported to Action Fraud in the past month, the fraudsters all ask for payment in iTunes gift card voucher codes.
Fraudsters are now moving onto iTunes gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and easily sold on. The scammers don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.
Fraudsters are contacting victims in three ways:
- Voicemails: Fraudsters are leaving victims automated voicemails saying that they owe HMRC unpaid taxes. When victims call back on the number provided, they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they don’t pay, the police will arrest them.
- Spoofed calls: Fraudsters are cold calling victims using a spoofed 0300 200 3300 number or foreign numbers and convincing them that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC.
- Text messages: Fraudsters are sending text messages that require victims to urgently call back on the number provided. When victims call back, they are told that there is a case being built against them for an outstanding debt and they must pay immediately.
One victim had reported purchasing over 15 iTunes gift card vouchers from Argos at £100 pounds each and handing them over to fraudsters on the phone after receiving an automated voice message. Another victim handed gift card voucher codes worth £15,000 after receiving a cold call.
This new trend that has only surfaced in the UK over the past month has been used by scammers in the USA who have been posing as police, attorneys, debt collectors and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, communications companies.
- How to protect yourself:
- HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
- Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephones display.
- If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.
- No government body, legitimate business, banks etc will ask for payment by ITunes vouchers.
- If you are unsure, or something doesn’t seem right, don’t do it. Get advice.
PCSO MORNING 16171
Chief Inspector Clare Jenkins of Hampshire Constabulary gave a presentation to East Hampshire District Council on 21st September on current priorities and challenges and the work being done by the Police across the District.
C/Insp Jenkins leads East Hampshire and Havant districts. She took up this role in late 2016. Her policing career, which began in the early 1990s, has also included work in safeguarding, custody investigation, Operation Fortress and the Operational Change Programme.
The presentation was detailed and of a very high standard and was very well received by the Council and which was followed by questions, all of which were handled very well.
I am very fortunate to see more than most of our Police, wearing my Community Safety hat - we are very fortunate to have Hampshire Constabulary looking after our District.
Councillor Bob Ayer, PANWA.
As part of the national plans in relation to the move to Critical, we are reminding the public not to be surprised if they see additional police officers - including armed officers - in busy locations in Hampshire such as train stations, shopping centres and other crowded places.
We urge the public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police by calling the confidential anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321 or in an emergency by dialling 999.
Our Chief Inspector, Clare Jenkins of Hampshire Constabulary, is giving a presentation to EHDC's Full Council on current priorities and challenges and the work being done by the Police across the District. This is open to the public at Penns Place at 1830 on Thursday 21st September at 6.30pm - it would be splendid if some of our Neighbourhood Watch members were at the Council Meeting. Claire is speaking early on the Agenda and one doesn't have to remain until the end of the meeting.
Councillor Bob Ayer, Petersfield Rother Ward.
Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Counter Extremism opened the NW Connect2Protect Conference in London on July 5th.
She paid tribute to the impressive reach of the NW movement and called on members to find new ways of reaching out to tackle new hidden crimes that cause so much misery and harm in our communities.
The thanked volunteers for their help in reducing traditional crimes such as burglary and car crime over the last three decades and asked them to now turn their attention to raising awareness of cybercrime, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, human trafficking and extremism.
If you’re concerned about the current national cyber attack, please read our statement and advice below.
We’re liaising closely with the National Crime Agency to keep up-to-date on the current situation both nationally and locally.
Detective Superintendent Craig Dibdin, said: “There are currently no indications that UK policing organisations have been infected with the ransomware.
“However, we understand that some members of the community may be concerned about any further attacks. I would urge anyone concerned to read the latest national advice on the National Crime Agency website or Action Fraud. You can also follow our @HantsPolice and @HCCyberProtect Twitter accounts.
“We will continue to liaise with the NCA to keep on top of the current situation and we have plans in place to deal with any issues should they arise.”
We will continue to support and share the advice from the NCA to help reduce further victims of cybercrime.
Victims of cybercrime should report directly to Action Fraud and are encouraged not to pay the ransom demand. Reports can be made directly at actionfraud.police.uk or on 0300 123 2040.
The NCA is advising the public and organisations to help reduce the risk of these attacks by:
- Making sure your security software patches are up-to-date.
- Making sure you are running anti-virus software.
- Backing-up your data in multiple locations, including offline.
- Avoiding opening unknown email attachments or clicking on links in spam emails.
More advice can be found here: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ - http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/ - http://www.ncsc.gov.uk
By following a few simple tips, you can help protect your rural property against burglaries.
These basic measures needn’t cost a lot of money: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/news/general/help-protect-your-rural-property-against-thieves/
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