What you need to know about Email, On-line and Telephone fraud

Everyday there are more examples on our local social media sites such as Knapton’s Facebook page and NextDoor about scams and unpleasant people using unscrupulous methods to cheat us out of our money or possessions.   And no one could fail to be aware of recent events unfolding in Eastern Europe. With mass coverage across press, news outlets and social media, images are constantly pushed directly to our smart devices and homes – and there are always those who look to take advantage of our empathy and compassion at these times.

Unfortunately the war in Ukraine is a gold mine for scammers and criminal groups, who are impersonating the Ukrainian government and international humanitarian agencies and are using fraudulent emails and SMS messages asking recipients to donate money.

The advice from our Parish Council and from our Neighbourhood Watch is to ALWAYS report such incidents to the Police.
Whether the person concerned genuinely needed help or assistance, or was simply looking for a set of circumstances that they could take advantage of, the Police are best placed to handle it.
Ring the Safer Neighbourhood Team – Dial 101

Ask yourself… do I trust them?

There are lots of simple things you can do which can go a long way to protecting you and your family from financial crime

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Check your emails

  • Be EXTRA cautious when you receive emails with attachments or clickable links, particularly from untrusted senders and especially if they are unexpected, have a sense of urgency, or are from an unknown sender
    Always remember if an offer is too good to be true – it probably is!
  • Check the sender’s email address and links by ‘hovering’ over them with your mouse to check if it’s what you would expect – if it doesn’t match or look right; query it!
  • Does the email look right overall?   Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, poor use of language, or an unprofessional look and feel can all be small signs that the email isn’t from the person/company they are pretending to be
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Be wary of text messages

  • Don’t click links arriving via instant messaging apps or SMS if you don’t know the sender, and block the caller
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Protect your personal data

  • Your personal email address is the key to most of your online world, so ensure that it is well-protected with a strong password and, where possible, set up 2-factor authentication to prevent someone taking over. The same applies to social media sites
  • Be cautious when using public wi-fi in shops, cafés etc as most public hotspots offer very little privacy protection.    Use a VPN (virtual private network) if possible as it provides an extra layer of protection between your devices and the Internet
  • Consider creating a second (or third) email address to use across more sensitive internet sites such as banking and online retail
  • Be cautious about the level and amount of personal details you share on social media
  • Don’t share your personal account data including One Time Passcodes, Online Payment Codes or PINs with anyone
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Secure devices and passwords

  • Ensure your PC/laptops, tablets and mobile devices have the latest software, make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version of web browser and that you have an up-to-date anti-virus or malware protection programme installed
  • Use unique passwords for each of your on-line accounts, don’t use the same password on multiple sites and change them regularly
  • Use strong passwords, complex passwords that are unique, long (at least 12 characters), and feature multiple upper & lower case letters, numbers and special characters (+@)^> etc) are the most secure
  • Keep your passwords secure and do not share them, consider using a Password Manager app (such as 1Password, Dashlane, Keeper plus many others) which can also create strong  random passwords for you

What is a scam?

A scam is a dishonest scheme designed to cheat people out of money.   There are many scams with new ones appearing constantly.

Norfolk Trading Standards give useful guidance and advice and by clicking on the link below we’ll take you to their Consumer Scam Alerts page where you can learn what you need to know to stay safe, check their current consumer alerts and find out how to report a scam.   You can even can sign up to receive email consumer or business scam alerts from them.


Where to find out more?

Take Five is a national campaign offering straight-forward impartial advice that helps prevent email, phone-based and on-line fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations. For more information on ways to keep yourself safe visit the Take Five website

High Street banks amongst others have created a leaflet to help avoid scams, which you can download below

Please let us know…

You can rest assured that we’ll continue to take all the necessary steps to protect our IT systems and services from this type of threat, but if you’d like to make a comment or raise a concern about any aspect of our parish, clicking on the button below will take you to our on-line Contact Form.

Selecting your chosen Subject from the drop down list (or choosing Something Else if there’s no better choice) ensures that your comment can be passed to the right person quickly and we will usually respond within 24hrs.