Six of the most common scams being used in Sheffield - and how to avoid falling prey

Following these tips could help prevent you becoming a victim of crime
Following these tips could help prevent you becoming a victim of crime
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Fraudsters appear to dream up new and increasingly callous ways to cheat people out of their money all the time these days.

From telephone scams to dodgy emails, it can seem like there's a potential trap waiting wherever you look.

That's why police in Sheffield have put together a handy list of the most common scams used to lure victims in Sheffield, together with advice on how to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters.

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PC Frank Meakin, of the Darnall neighbourhood policing team, said he was issuing the tips because fraud is becoming increasingly common in the area, with new technology arming the culprits with ever more complex tools.

"The following types of fraud are increasingly common and simple steps can help to reduce the likelihood of them affecting you," he added.

DOORSTEP FRAUD

• Rogue traders and cold callers – they commonly try to push you into paying unreasonable prices for unnecessary home improvements that they point out on your property.

• Bogus officials – somebody pretending to be from your electricity or gas company as a way to get into your home and steal from you.

ADVICE: Ask to see ID, do not agree to anything without taking time to consider it in private, ring the company they claim to be from to check if they have sent an employee.

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TELEPHONE SCAMS

• Bank scams - callers claim to be from your bank telling you there’s a problem with your card or account and asking for your account and card details, including PIN number. Your bank would never tell you to do this.

• Computer repair scams - callers claim to be from large computer firms and tell you that your computer has a virus. They charge you to install ‘anti-virus software’ which is spyware used to get your personal details. Legitimate IT companies don’t contact customers this way.

• HMRC scams - callers claim to be from HMRC stating there’s an issue with your tax refund or an unpaid tax bill. They may ask you to call back. HMRC won’t contact you like this and would never ask you to reveal personal financial information like bank account details.

ADVICE: Cancel the call and ring the bank/company directly on a legitimate number if you aren’t sure. Do not supply information to an unknown number.

READ MORE: Three men arrested over night of mayhem in Sheffield
EMAIL SCAMS

• You may receive emails sent by scammers trying to gather your personal information. Signs to look out for are: the sender’s email address doesn’t match with the company they claim to be or contains a combination of letters and numbers; the email uses a non-specific greeting like 'dear customer', a warning that you must respond immediately or a request for personal information such as user name, password or bank details.

ADVICE: Always check the email address of the sender. Do not click on links or respond with personal information. If you are not sure, contact the company directly with any queries.

More information is available on the Action Fraud website.

If you suspect you have fallen victim to scammers. Call the Action Fraud team on 0300 123 2040 or contact them on line at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.