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Humberside Police launches online ‘Fraud Awareness Group’ to tackle rising number of fraudulent messages

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Humberside Police have launched an online ‘Fraud Awareness Group’ this week to stop the fraudsters in their tracks.

The Humberside Police – Fraud Awareness Facebook Group will give people the opportunity to share information on fraudulent text messages, telephone calls, emails and rogue traders in an effort to reduce the number of fraud victims in our area.

A ‘Week of Action’ will take place between Monday 28th June and Friday 2nd July when the group will be monitored by specialists from their Economic Crime Team who will dish out advice and guidance whilst also sharing their ‘top tips’ on keeping safe online and at home.

Over the past 12 months £13.7m has been lost by people in our area to fraudsters, with over 7,700 reported cases.

During the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a national increase in the number of fraudulent messages, with criminals taking advantage of people spending more time at home, shopping online and looking for love. Fraudsters have also prayed on the increase in anxiety and worry that many people have experienced over the past sixteen months.

In the past few weeks alone Humberside Police have seen examples of several unsolicited messages received through mobile phones. One message appeared to be from a bank, warning of a possible fraud; “Request for NEW payee MR A SMITH has been made on your account. If this was not you please visit…” the message was followed by a web link that looked as though it was sent from a major high street bank.

Another message appeared to be an invitation to book a COVID-19 vaccination; “Dear Mr SMITH. You have been invited to book your Covid-19 vaccinations. Please click the link to book your first vaccination, or tell us if you’ve already booked elsewhere…”

They have also seen examples of fraudulent calls. One common call claims that you have been implicated in a crime; “This call is in regards to illegal activity with your National Insurance Number. Ignoring this phone call may lead to legal trouble.”

Detective Sergeant Ben Robinson said: “Without doubt the pandemic has created a perfect storm that has presented criminals with many opportunities to target vulnerable people.

“We’re not just talking about the elderly or those that aren’t ‘tech savvy’, 18-24 year olds are spending on average well over four hours a day online*, this often leaves them distracted and susceptible to fraudulent behaviour as well.

We want people to join our group and share details of suspicious or fraudulent messages so that others have the confidence spot the signs and report things to the relevant agencies.”

You can join the group here. Humberside Police are already sharing useful hints and tips in the run up to our ‘Week of Action’.

*Ofcom Online Nation Report 2020

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