Warning issued following fraud reports in Essex relating to current climate

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Essex Police are reminding people in Essex to be vigilant following reports that fraudsters are attempting to take advantage of the current climate by carrying out crime online and at people’s doorsteps.

Fraudsters will go to extreme lengths to get access to your hard earned money, including posing as government officials by text message, online or by knocking at doors.

While we have only received a handful of incidents, it’s important that people be mindful before handing over money or personal details.

We’ve been made aware of incidents where people have bought items such as face masks that have never arrived, con artists have knocked on doors posing as government officials and people have received fake text messages about the new stay at home measures.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss, who leads our Serious Economic and Cyber Crime teams, said: “Specialists fraud officers – just like our regular officers – continue to keep people safe by raising awareness about fraud, by monitoring activity online and by providing help to our communities vulnerable and elderly.

“We know fraudsters will look to take advantage of any situation and this means tricking people into parting with their money and information.

“We continue to work closely with partner agencies such as Action Fraud and police forces nationally. There are also simple steps, you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

“Together we can beat fraud.”

Some simple steps you can take are:

  • Take five minutes before taking action and trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel real or genuine, it probably isn’t.
  • Do not assume or believe a call, a knock on the door or a deal online is genuine.
  • Challenge any calls, visits or messages you may receive.
  • Never click on links and never divulge personal information – the police and government departments will never ask you for these details.
  • If you receive any fake GOV.UK/Coronavirus messages, please report these to Action Fraud.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you think you are a victim of a scam.

Anyone with information should call 101 or report online.

You can also call Crimestopeprs anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report information to Action Fraud by visiting the wesbite.

 
 

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