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Staffordshire Police issue scams warnings

Staffordshire Police have recently issued warnings for residents to be on their guard following two separate scams which could be potentially circulating in the area, and which they could unwittingly fall victim to.

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The first warning concerns a courier fraud phone scam. 

Two reports were received recently of suspicious phone calls from someone claiming to be from a PPI company.

It’s reported that the caller informs the resident that they are entitled to thousands of pounds of PPI refund and that to claim the money owed to them they must pay 10%.

The 10% is requested in various forms, including a cheque, a Moneygram and a Paysafe card. The caller says they will call back to arrange for it to be collected and the rest of the money paid. 

In these instances, the intended victims did the right thing – they called the police and did not follow any instructions the caller gave.

Although these residents were in the Tamworth area, these fraudsters can target anyone, anywhere, so please take heed.

This is a scam – please do not engage with anyone who calls you in this way and follow the advice given by Staffordshire Police:

Remember, fraudsters are clever – They know how to trick people to get the response and information they want.   NEVER  give any details to a stranger over the phone. Do not engage with them and end the call as soon as possible.

Alert others – Please alert elderly or vulnerable family and friends to the above scam to stop them being taken in by it too.

Report any suspicious calls – If you think you may have fallen victim to a suspicious call, please report it as soon as possible to the police.

Anyone with any information on the above incident is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 328 of August 16th.

You can also report crime by contacting the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at crimestoppers.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Officers are also warning people to beware of employers offering payment via travellers’ cheques.

The cheques are offered as reimbursement for ‘initial costs’ for a new job. Victims have been models or drivers looking for work online and in Staffordshire, they have all been aged under 40.

The scam works in the following way: the model or driver (victim) places or replies to an advert for employment. The scammer contacts the victim and offers a contract of employment. The scammer sends the victim a (counterfeit) traveller’s cheque to cover the cost of hiring a car or make-up artist and the victim is asked to deposit the cash into a beneficiary account.

The cheque is cashed/deposited and the model/driver unwittingly becomes a “money mule” which is someone who unknowingly launders money though their day-to-day accounts, or through accounts specifically set up for the purpose of receiving or sending illegal funds.

Det Insp Robert Harvmann of Staffordshire Police said: “This type of scam is becoming more prevalent. It’s a clever system as people don’t suspect anything. Because they’re being paid for work they’ve done or expenses they’ve incurred, they don’t realise there’s anything criminal happening.

“By following this advice, you can protect yourself from being involved unwittingly in money laundering:

Be wary of any employer who sends a cheque for more than the agreed amount and asks you to send cash to them, or anyone else. Research as much about the individual or company who practice this type of scheme prior to making any financial transaction involving them. 
Check any documents for poor spelling and grammar – this is often a sign that fraudsters are at work. 
If you are uncertain whether an employer is genuine then give them a call, ask for references or use an online search engine to see if anything of concern comes up. 
If you are uploading your CV onto an online job board avoid including valuable identification details and definitely do not include any financial details. 
Unless you are sure the job advertisement is genuine, be protective of your National Insurance number, passport number and bank details. This is all someone needs to pretend to be you and make purchases or open accounts in your name.
Warn the operators of the website where you placed your CV that their site is possibly being used by fraudsters. “



If you suspect you have been a victim of this type of fraud, please contact Action fraud on 0300 123 2042 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk 

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