Scams are used to trick people usually to try to steal money. Examples are credit card and bank fraud, internet identity theft, lottery and inheritance scams. They normally give a seemingly plausible reason to get people to divulge information that can then be used to extract money. This is a growing crime.
Hoaxes are typically propagated by e mail and are essentially harmless in that they spread misleading or incorrect information in an effort to trick people. These have become more of a problem with the ease of forwarding e mails to large distribution lists. Often hoaxes are received from well-meaning people who you may know. They have probably received the information from someone they trust. This is how a “good” hoax gets wide circulation.
To be successful criminals need to devise new scams and we do need to be alert to these threats. We believe it is useful for the Beech Village Neighbourhood watch to circulate information about genuine scams but we do not wish to be instrumental in propagating hoaxes. These hoaxes just waste time and resource and in the worst cases can cause unnecessary fear.
We must emphasise that we do not wish to discourage villagers in any way to sending us details of ANY kind of threat, be it theft, fraud, violence, scams and hoaxes. We always wish to have open and two way channels of communication. So please keep sending your concerns on incidents of scams, hoaxes and security advice which we will distribute if we consider that it is appropriate. However in the case of hoaxes and scams these will be assessed firstly by Richard Butt (Tel: 541232). He has volunteered to sanity check such messages and advises the watch if they should be distributed around the village. He will discuss the details with the villager who forwarded the information to help determine our response. Hopefully in this way we will get more right than wrong for the benefit of villagers and not be part of perpetuating hoaxes.
We understand the personal embarrassment and loneliness that some scams present to individuals, particularly if the victim is not sure that they are indeed being tricked. We will always safeguard the anonymity of the person involved.
Following pressure from us and other neighbourhood watches the police are now putting more resources into combatting this scam epidemic and we need to keep them aware of incidences of this insidious crime.
Thank you for your support of the Watch and if you need any clarification on this matter or on any other issue please do not hesitate to contact us.
Richard Butt and Colin Britchford, (Tel. 88180)