Please find attached the latest Essex Police Christmas Newsletter with advice about keeping safe. Although this was issued for Christmas there are still articles of relevance. Also please see below this an article on scams, including one that is recent and fairly clever.Essex-OCN-21-Christmas-Newsletter
We would urge all parishioners to be alert to various scams which seem to be constantly circulating. These may come by phone, email, text or various other media or communication methods. Sadly, these days, one needs to err on the side of caution.
If you get any calls allegedly from your bank, internet provider, energy company, delivery company, computer repair firms etc. that you are not expecting, be cautious. They do not call customers out of the blue. Again be cautious of such emails, particularly if being asked to click on a link.
The following organisations offer various help and suggestions in respect of scams.
A parishioner received a call, allegedly from BT, which was a scam. The caller said that there were problems with the parishioner’s broadband and they would be able to fix it. They further said that a mail had been sent to the parishioner from BT giving a PIN and asked the parishioner for the PIN so that they could fix the problem.
The said parishioner (who is a BT customer) had, in fact, received an email from BT with a PIN to enable them to reset their password. However, this had not been requested. What had actually happened is that the caller had contacted BT (pretending to be the parishioner) and said that he had forgotten his log in details. When this happens BT (or other companies) will send you a mail or a text with a PIN code which you need to verify your identity. You can then log in to your account and set up new log in details.
Of course, what the scam caller wanted was to get the PIN to log into the parishioner’s email account and thus be able to find personal information such as bank details and/or to send scam messages to the parishioner’s contacts etc.
Fortunately the parishioner in question was very aware that this was a scam. They have reported it to BT and have posted here to make everyone aware of such things.
Some time ago a number of parishioners in a London church received a message, allegedly from the parish priest, asking for charitable help in the form of gift certificates. One person was scammed out of a considerable sum of money. Another was almost scammed but was saved because this was reported and parishioners were contacted to warn them of this.
A message, seemingly, from a friend or family member asking for help because phone, money, passport, tickets etc have been lost or stolen.
Past examples have been requests for payment for Covid vaccinations, fake collections for Ukraine and other humanitarian crises.