Beds Police issue phone scam warning after resident loses entire life savings

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Bedfordshire Police is issuing a fraud warning after a number of the county’s residents fell victim to a scam, with one losing their entire life savings.

The National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, Action Fraud, has reported that the scam first came to their attention in October 2019 and since has costed the victims more than £1 million.

The scam is carried out by phone call, with the victim receiving an automated phone message that they have been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription.

They are subsequently instructed to ‘press 1’ to cancel the transaction. When they do this, they are directed to a fraudster posing as an Amazon customer service representative.

The fraudster advises the victim that their subscription was purchased fraudulently and that remote access to their computer is required in order to fix a security flaw that will prevent it from reoccurring.

The unsuspecting victim then downloads software which grants the scammers remote access to their computer, including personal and financial information.

Other variants of the crime involve fraudsters stating that the recipient is eligible for a refund for an unauthorised transaction on their Amazon account.

Bedfordshire Police advises all residents to stay alert to this sophisticated scam and follow Action Fraud advice to stay safe.

  • Personal information – always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number. Try using a different phone line if possible or wait for a period of time as scammers have a way to stay on the line.
  • Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations. But it’s fine to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.
  • Remote access – never install any software or visit a website as a result of a cold call. Unsolicited requests for remote access to your computer should always raise a red flag.

Bedfordshire Police Cyber Security Advisor Sean O’Neil said, “We would like to ask our residents to remain vigilant to any unsolicited calls. Make sure that you share this advice with your friends and family and speak to your elderly family members.

“Remember to always protect your personal information and never grant remote access to your computer or phone to anyone who contacts you first.”

Remember, if you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraudonline or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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