TAMESIDE residents are being given advice and equipment to protect them from fraudsters.
Tameside Council has held Scam Awareness sessions across the borough to keep people one step ahead of swindlers.
The latest session took place at Dukinfield Town Hall during National Scam Awareness Month with one hundred over 55s from community group Dukinfield Time of Your Life attending.
The council’s Neighbourhood North Project Officer Sue Moorcroft has delivered the session to more than 500 residents in 19 community groups so far.
She gave helpful tips on staying safe from scams and fraud, which incorporated handling personal identity, dealing with cold callers, internet safety and home security.
Pamela Sweeney, from Dukinfield Time of Your Life, said: “The session was very good. I think the information is important and members will have found it useful.”
The sessions are part of a Financial Abuse Awareness programme run by the council that last year included a conference for partner organisations and practitioners as well as sessions in the community.
It’s also part of the council’s Our Streets campaign, which is bringing the local authority and public together to create a cleaner, greener, safer borough.
The council also provides Think Jessica Booklets, which aims to protect elderly and vulnerable people from postal and phone scams, personal safety mini alarms and purse bells, as well as information about the Trading Standards Buy with Confidence Scheme.
Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “As scams, fraud and doorstep crime are becoming more sophisticated, our Scam Awareness programme is a vital resource giving residents the information they need to help keep them safe and secure.
“This partnership work helps unite the community and I would urge people to heed the advice given.”
Helpful tips include:
Protecting your identity
Only give personal details when absolutely necessary and when you trust the person
Shred all documents, old credit and debit cards and anything else with personal details on
Treat personal details like you would money
Never send money to anyone you don’t know.
Do not send any money or pay fees to claim prizes or lottery winnings.
Jobs asking you to simply use your own bank account to transfer money for somebody could be a front for money laundering activity
Check your bank statements and financial affairs regularly. Do not give out your PIN number
Obtain quotes/estimates for any work carried out by tradesmen
If anyone comes to your door, make sure you ask for identification
You DO NOT have to let them in and they must leave if you tell them to
Before you decide to pay any money, if you are interested in what a door-to-door salesman is offering, take time to find out about their business and their offer
Find a registered tradesman who has been approved by Tameside Council Trading Standards and listed on the “Buy with Confidence” scheme.
On the Telephone
If you receive a phone call from someone you don’t know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent. Verify this information by calling the company’s head office yourself.
Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognise.
Be especially wary of phone numbers you do not know. They may charge you higher rates if you answer them.
Use a passcode for mobile phones
Using the Internet
Make sure the computer has all the software anti-virus and firewall security and update regularly
Never send personal information, PIN numbers or passwords to an unknown source
When choosing passwords don’t use family names and dates of birth. Ideally use capital letters, numbers and a symbol which is harder for fraudsters to hack. Don’t write down passwords and store them in your bag or pocket.
Do not respond to emails you are not expecting to receive or people you do not know
When purchasing on the internet, only enter the credit card details on a secure website which has a padlock icon at the top of the web page address, which is not a guarantee but may offer assurance
When using a computer in an internet café or library, make sure you do not leave any personal information on the PC or paper copies lying around
If you suspect you’ve been scammed ask someone you trust or turn to the police, Tameside Council, Citizens Advice or Home Instead.
For more advice visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk