The offences can take many forms. Residents of Conwy recently received through the post a "Euromillions Commonwealth of Nations Online Lottery" letter informing them of a substantial financial win to be released upon personal bank details being submitted.
Police say this is a "cruel and criminal fraud".
Many offences involve fraudsters, possibly based overseas, contacting victims at random either by email or direct to their home or mobile phones informing them they have won a cash prize in an on-line draw or competition but in order to release the money they have to pay a handling or joining fee. Bank card details are then requested and victims have money removed from their account.
Det Supt Mark Pierce at North Wales Police is warning people to be on their guard.
He said: “People committing this type of crime can often sound or appear very plausible. Letters, phone calls or emails can be received asking for members of the public to pass over their bank details to allow funds of some kind to be paid into their accounts. This is clearly a scam and anyone receiving such a request should treat it with the caution it deserves. Under no circumstances should anyone give out their bank details in this way”.
“The best way to deal with these individuals is to simply cut them off and inform BT. If you are concerned then seek advice from a member of the family or friend, CAB or Police. This is a cruel crime, particularly at this time of the year but we can all take steps to protect ourselves from financial crime by calling the Action Fraud hotline on 0300 123 2040, or visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ .
Det Supt Pierce added: “Action Fraud can provide up to date advice on current scams and can identify whether a scenario is fraudulent. The Action Fraud Helpline will send details of the offence to the Force area where the offenders are located for further investigation. If the fraud has been committed by persons within North Wales then a local investigation will be conducted. We would encourage the public to use social networking to get this message out to as wide an audience as possible – the more people who know about it the less chance of them becoming a victim.”
Protect yourself from fraud:
- Consider registering with the Telephone Preference Service to stop unsolicited telephone calls. This is a free service. Further details can be obtained from http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/ or 020 7291 3320. Registration can be made on line or by phone 0845 070 0707.
- Consider registering with the Mailing Preference Service as this supports the right to choose the mail you wish to receive. Further details can be obtained from http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/ or 020 7291 3310. Registration can be made on line or by phone 0845 703 4599 begin. This too is a free service.
- If you are suspicious that you’ve been targeted in a fraudulent telephone call this can be reported to Action on Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or telephone 0300 123 2040.
- If you’ve lost money call your local police on 101.
- Beware of cold calls even when the caller appears to have personal information such as your address or bank account details. Legitimate callers will never be offended if you ask to call back in order to confirm their identity. When doing so always use a phone number that you’ve obtained from previous correspondence or an independent source such as phone book or an official website.