At Longhurst Group, we want to make sure our customers avoid becoming victims of scams and keep their finances secure.
By doing this, we can help customers keep their tenancies sustainable and ensure they’re not left out of pocket by any fraudsters.
Many of our teams within the organisation can give handy tips, advice and guidance on how to be scam aware and some common scams that go around each year.
Our expert colleagues are here to help you
Our Money Advisors can give you some ideas on how to keep your money safe, while our Employment and Skills Team can help you spot fraudulent job adverts and help you look in the right places for that dream job.
Ultimately, if you’re ever in doubt about whether something is legitimate, we want to help.
From a query as to whether a contractor at your door is actually working for us, to doubts about the legitimacy of an online job advert, we want to hear from you.
If you’re in doubt, call us on 0300 123 1745 and ask.
Keeping your money secure – top tips
It’s important to remember that scams are crimes that can happen to anyone, but we can all take a stand to help stop them.
Being scam aware is vitally important for everyone. The more aware we all are to the potential of being scammed, the less likely it is that we’ll become a victim.
It’s more important than ever to help protect people against scams, as the Coronavirus pandemic has meant more people are facing issues – from employment and debt, to housing and health – resulting in more people being in vulnerable situations.
There are actions we can all take to report scams, share stories about them and raise awareness of scams to safeguard us and others.
Ultimately, it’s important for you to be alert and to consider whether something could be a scam. Things could be a scam if:
- It seems too good to be true – such as a holiday that’s much cheaper than you’d expect
- You’re contacted by somebody you don’t know unexpectedly
- You’re suspicious that you’re dealing with an organisation that isn’t a real company. Not having a postal address is often a good clue
- You’re quickly asked to transfer money
- You’re asked to pay money in an unusual way, such as with vouchers or through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union
- Somebody asks you to give away personal information such as passwords or PINs
- You’ve never been given written confirmation of what you’ve agreed.
If you’ve given away money or information because of a scam, there are things you should do. Check the Citizen’s Advice website for what to do if you’ve been scammed.
If you haven’t been scammed, but you’ve seen something you think is a scam, you should report it. Find out how to report a scam here.
With many of us carrying out more daily tasks online than ever before, staying safe online and being aware of scams is vital.
There are some key things you can do to protect yourself from being scammed online. Lots more information is available on the Citizens' Advice website here.
Is an online shop fake?
You can search for a company’s details on gov.uk and this’ll tell you if they’re a registered company or not. If you’re buying something on a site you’ve not used before, you should spend a few minutes checking it out and reading the terms and conditions. The company’s address should have a street name and not just a post office box.
Check their reviews on different websites as well – don’t just rely on the reviews it’s put on its own website.
Don’t click or download anything you don’t trust
Quite simply, if you’re not sure you can trust what you’re looking at, don’t click on it or download anything. For example, if you get an email from a company with a strange email address, clicking on any links could infect your computer with a virus.
Make sure your antivirus software is up to date as well.
Think twice before giving away any information
Some scammers will try to get hold of your personal information, such as the name of your primary school or your National Insurance number so they can hack your other online accounts.
If you find sites that ask for this sort of information without a clear and obvious reason, check they’re legitimate before you continue.
Have your details been shared online?
Make your online accounts as secure as possible
Make sure your password is secure for email accounts and make it different to the one you use on other accounts. If you’re worried about remembering lots of different passwords, you can use a password manager.
Some websites let you add a second step when you log in to your account – this is known as ‘two-factor authentication’. This makes it harder for scammers to access your accounts.
Keeping our finances safe is important, whether we bank online or in the more traditional ways.
However, there are some steps we can all take to keep our money safe online.
Choose a reputable bank/building society
Only bank with a reputable bank or building society. This is one easy way to know your money is as secure as possible, and will give you more protections should anything happen to your money.
Know how your bank operates
Check your bank’s website to see how they’ll communicate with you. For example, check what type of security questions they’ll ask if they phone you. Be aware for any tricks from scammers which could lead you into revealing your personal information, such as asking for characters from a password more than once, and changing the characters they ask for.
Keep your security information safe
It’s important that you can remember your security information, but that only you know it and have access to it. Don’t save this information on your computer or phone and don’t write it down and keep it in your purse or wallet.
Make sure you don’t reveal this information to anyone who wouldn’t normally need to know it.
Pay by debit or credit card
Paying for things by card can give you extra protection if things go wrong – including scams or if companies go into administration.
Citizens' Advice has also published a useful guide to getting your money back after you’ve been scammed.
Staying safe – online and offline
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Scams to watch out for
A scam is currently circulating which involves people receiving parcels from Amazon that they didn't order.
Despite the free goods, this scam is very serious and could mean fraudsters have gained access to your personal information.
If you receive a parcel that you've not ordered and it's not a gift from a friend or family member, you should report this to Amazon straight away. We'd also recommend changing the password for your Amazon account.
More information on 'brushing' scams can be found on the Amazon website.
We've been made aware that customers are being approached on Facebook by someone using the name 'James', though this scam could be replicated by anyone, whom claims that he can help them claim money back from their banks.
'James' coerces the victim into providing their bank details and promises to help them claim back bills they’ve paid by direct debit.
'James' takes a large percentage of the money and he doesn't explain that the victim will be responsible for paying the full amount claimed back. Regrettably, the victim is left further in debt and in the case of rent arrears, at risk of losing their tenancy.
We'd like to remind our customers to take care online, and to not give out any personal information.
A scam is currently circulating in Skegness, though this could be replicated anywhere, regarding building work on your home.
The fraudsters call you and claim that they’ll be starting some work on your home, and try to coerce you into giving them your personal information.
They make it seem real by referring to you by name and knowing your address. We’d like to remind our customers to be cautious when answering the phone.
If you’re a Longhurst Group customer and you receive a call of this nature and you’re unsure if it’s genuine, we’d urge you to hang up. You can then call us on 0300 123 1745, pressing option 3 to speak to our Customer Services Team, and they’ll be happy to verify any planned works we’ve booked in for your property.
If you think you’ve fallen victim to this, or any other scam, you should contact your bank immediately. You should also report it to Action Fraud by calling them on 0300 123 2040 or by visiting their website.
We're aware of a phishing email that's currently circulating, that claims your National Insurance number has been disabled due to fraudulent activity.
The email urges you to click a link to reactivate your National Insurance number. We'd like to remind our customers that you'll never be required to do this.
If you receive an email of this nature, we'd urge you to not click any links and to delete it.
If you think you've fallen victim to this scam, or any others, please report it immediately to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.
Many scam calls and texts are currently circulating that are in relation to repairs compensation schemes.
We're aware of the following scams:
- A text message from 'CouncilUK' that asks if you have any repairs issues that you need to report, and urges you to click a link to claim money back on your rent. This is not a genuine message.
- A phone call that suggests a new Government scheme has been introduced that allows you to claim back money on repairs. This scheme doesn't exist, and if you receive a call of this nature we'd urge you to hang up immediately.
If you have repairs to report, please do this via our usual routes. For more information on how to report a repair, click here.
If you think you've fallen victim to a scam, you should report this to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.
We've been made aware that a fraudster has been making calls to Longhurst Group customers about repairs. The caller will inform you that we're currently not completing repairs due to the Coronavirus, and instructs you to send photos of the repair issue to them and to pass over your bank details for a re-imbursement of money.
If you receive a call of this nature, we'd urge you to hang up immediately and call us on 0300 123 1745 and press option 3 to report it to Customer Services. We'd also like to reassure our customers that we are still completing repairs at this time. Click here for more information on our repairs service during the pandemic.
We've been made aware of a convincing telephone scam which is currently targeting businesses.
The cold caller claims to be a High Court Enforcement Officer, calling regarding debts owed to HMRC. The caller claims that to deal with the matter and to raise a dispute, a sum of money needs to be paid.
We'd like to reassure our customers that HM Courts and Tribunal Service will never telephone to ask for bank details, nor will they telephone you to ask you to make a bank transfer.
We've been made aware of a scam call from fraudsters claiming to be from BT. The automated message states your contract is going to be terminated, and to press 1 to talk to the investigation team. We'd like to remind our customers not press 1 and to hang up.
If you think you've fallen victim to a phone scam, you should report this to Action Fraud immediately by calling 0300 123 2040.
Many texts and emails are circulating that at first glance appear to be official communications regarding the Coronavirus.
We're aware of the following phishing messages:
- Fraudsters impersonating the Government, and offering a Covid-19 relief payment. The text includes a link which will take you to a fake Government website and prompts you to enter your details.
- A fake Government text claiming you're being fined for leaving your home. This text prompts you to click a link for more information.
- Vaccination scam message stating you've qualified for a vaccination, and to fill out the application form on the attached link. If you do qualify for the Covid-19 vaccination, you will be contacted by your GP surgery directly.
These phishing emails and texts will often ask you to log in and confirm your details. We'd recommend that you do not click on the link, or call any number that they detail. If you're unsure about the legitimacy of a message you've received, you should report it to Action Fraud on their website or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.
With many people's shopping habits changing and relying more on online shopping, fraudsters are trying to cash in.
Scam emails and texts regarding your scheduled deliveries are currently circulating. The most common is a text asking you to pay a small fee to reschedule the delivery of your parcel, after an unsuccessful delivery attempt was made.
If you receive this text, do not click the link and delete it straight away.
If you think you've fallen victim to a scam, please report it to Action Fraud and contact your bank immediately.
Game enthusiasts have been caught out when purchasing what they believe to be the new PlayStation 5 (PS5) console on eBay.
Scammers have been listing the item as 'Brand New Photo of the PS5 console', meaning eager shoppers are disappointed when they receive just an image of the gaming device.
When purchasing on eBay remember to carefully read the description, and check out the seller's feedback first.
We've had reports that an individual who attends a food larder in North East Lincolnshire received friend requests on Facebook from somebody with whom it appeared they shared a mutual friend.
They were asked to click a link to receive a free food parcel and to complete their details. Regrettably, the individual did so and then had all their money emptied from their bank account.
The police and Facebook were made aware of the scam, and the perpetrator's Facebook account was closed down.
While this incident happened in North East Lincolnshire, it’s believed a similar scam could easily be replicated elsewhere.
Please take extra care online and think twice before entering personal details anywhere to help you stay safe online.