The COVID-19 crisis has seen many astonishing acts of kindness, unfortunately there is an increasing threat from criminals who are taking advantage online, by telephone or text and through cold calling. They trick you into urgency and action, and once getting you to react can steal your passwords, logins to banking, compromise your computer or take money or credit cards through doorstep frauds.
A local PSNI Crime Prevention Officer has asked that we inform parishioners especially those not on social media, to be wary of individuals claiming to be ‘Good Samaritans’, calling on the elderly at their homes. These individuals are offering to take weekly collections to their local churches and in some cases offering to collect prescriptions and groceries for a cash sum. The PSNI Crime Prevention Team urge everyone to be cautious and follow this advice:
- Only use the services of people you know and trust
- Please ensure you speak with a trusted member of your Church to arrange collection or alternative methods for paying your weekly collections.
- Be alert to online and telephone scams, do not share personal or financial details with anyone.
- Keep your doors locked at all times. Use your door chain or peep hole. Check ID, call 101 Quick Check to confirm identity. Please display NO COLD CALLING stickers or the nominated neighbour scheme.
If you see something suspicious in the area that you live in or are concerned about an elderly member of your community, please don’t hesitate to contact the PSNI on 101.
The NI Direct website has a ‘ScamWise Partnership’ page HERE , offering extensive information and practical advice on this ever growing threat both online and on the door step. Topics covered are: Phone scams and cold calls – Online scams – Scams by post – Doorstep fraud, also advice on how to spot and report a scam.
So be a healthy sceptic …and let’s keep an eye out, particularly for the vulnerable living next door to us!
Image courtesy of Alamy