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Shameless scammers knock on the doors of the elderly

Fraudsters are impersonating more and more officials, knocking on the doors of the elderly and cheating them during the coronavirus crisis, a body warned.

Exploiting criminals are committing a burglary or fraud by pretending to be government officials, councils or doctors, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

People are also targeted with phishing emails that offer quick remedies and vaccination kits, while others are asked to donate to fake charities.

And the emails that appear to come from travel companies ask people for canceled holidays in an attempt to obtain payment details.

Elderly residents in solitary confinement should be more vigilant towards strangers who offer them unsolicited services as criminals target retirees in their homes and on the phone

Other vulnerable residents are paying dues online for essential goods, such as hand sanitizers, only to never receive the product because it was sold on a fake platform.

It comes when news of scams has increased by 400% in the space of a month in the city of London.

Police forces reported that 105 were reported to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime, with total losses reaching nearly £ 970,000.

LGA is urging elderly and isolated residents not to accept services from strangers who offer to run errands, such as collecting prescriptions or making purchases, if they ask for money or card details in advance.

Councilor Simon Blackburn, president of the LGA’s Safer & Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘By tricking older and vulnerable people into isolation to separate themselves from their own money, scammers are playing roulette with the lives of those most at risk.

‘Keeping seniors and people with underlying health safe is the top priority of all advice and advice will do everything in their power to prosecute scammers and seek harsher penalties for criminals who benefit from this. despicable way.

“The councils have plans in place to address the very difficult circumstances presented by the coronavirus and will continue to review how best to use their staff and mobilize community resources to ensure that the support they have is provided to the elderly and vulnerable need.”

Scammers would offer hand sanitizers and face masks on bogus websites with victims who never receive their orders as scammers capitalize on the fear of the general public

Scammers would offer hand sanitizers and face masks on bogus websites with victims who never receive their orders as scammers capitalize on the fear of the general public

Charity prepared to increase reports of child sexual abuse after school closes

Experts are preparing for a spike in public news of child sexual abuse on the Internet as schools across the UK close during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) fears that children may be at greater risk of being cared for and forced to create explicit content, as many will surely spend more time online from Monday.

Susie Hargreaves, the charity’s CEO, said that more and more videos and photos are being taken by the children themselves, who have been targeted by “ruthless predators” under false identities.

“Heartbreaking, we see more and more of this material filmed by the children themselves on devices, sometimes streamed from their own bedrooms in the family home,” he said.

“My fear is that with more young children being sent home from school, many of them will be spending much more time online, probably exposing them to some of these criminals.”

In 2019, the charity – which is responsible for finding and removing videos and images of children who are sexually abused from the Internet – examined a record 260,400 reports, compared with 229,328 investigated the year before.

Of those in 2019, 132,700 were confirmed as images or videos of children who are victims of sexual abuse, an increase compared to 105,047 in 2018.

The charity says its hotline will continue to function while other staff members are forced to work from home to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.

“We are preparing for a spike in relationships,” said Hargreaves.

‘The pandemic is forcing more and more people to stay indoors and many people will be spending much more time on the Internet and at home on electronic devices.

“More and more people alone in their homes and more people who spend more time online, unfortunately, it is likely that we will see more people coming across criminal material involving child sexual abuse on the Internet.

“We also expect criminals to be more active on the Internet in the coming months.

“This could mean that we will see an unprecedented number of public relations on our hotline as more people find things that are not right and report it to us.”

The charity urges parents to trust their children but to converse openly with them about the dangers.

Examples of exploitation are scammers who impersonate officers from the Rochdale Council and offer to run errands for the vulnerable.

Birmingham City Council reported a retailer selling harmful hand sanitizers, while a neighborhood surveillance group in Lewisham and Blackheath reported people knocking on older people claiming they came from the health authority for mandatory testing for coronavirus.

It comes when Age UK launches an emergency fundraising appeal to raise £ 10 million to help older people get through the pandemic.

Its helpline saw a 30% increase in demand, while another service, the Silver Line helpline, recorded 40% more calls.

The charity said that his biggest concern is for the millions of older people who have no family and friends to rely on.

Laurie Boult, Age UK fundraising director, said: “The reality is that in the weeks and months to come older people will need Age UK in large numbers, and to an extent we have never seen before.

‘We are determined to take up the challenge and be there – to offer comfort, hope and practical support. But we can only do this if we have the funds it will take. ”

The action fraud gave the public advice on how to avoid being scammed by scammers during the coronavirus crisis:

1. Beware of scam messages

Never click on links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that require your personal or financial information.

2. Online shopping

If you are making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, do some research first and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase.

If you decide to proceed with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, since most of the major credit card providers insure online purchases.

3. Protect your devices from the latest threats

Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats.

Anyone who believes that they are a victim of fraud should immediately contact their bank and contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Graeme Biggar, director general of the National Economic Crime Center, said: “We have already seen scammers using the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud people trying to buy medical supplies online, sending emails that offer fake medical support and target people. who may be vulnerable or increasingly isolated at home.

“The advice is simple, think very carefully before handing over your money and not providing your personal information unless you are sure who you are dealing with.”

Superintendent Sanjay Andersen, head of the National Fraud Intelligence Office, said: “Fraudsters will use every possible opportunity to obtain money from innocent people. This includes exploiting global tragedies and emergencies.

‘Most of the scams we are seeing relate to the online sale of protective items and scarce resources across the country, due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

‘We advise people not to panic and think about the purchase they are making. When shopping online it is important to do your research and consult the reviews of the site you are buying from. ”

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