Scams Awareness Fortnight: Introduction & Spoof Numbers – Message 2

Here’s another timely and important update from OWL, Hertfordshire Constabulary and Neighbourhood Watch. As many of us are still working from home or self-isolating, we’re somewhat of a captive audience. Spoofed phone numbers are quite common, but there are steps you can take to educate yourself so you reduce the risk of becoming a victim – Ed 

Dear Watch Member,

A huge increase in cyber-fraud across the world means that we all need to learn how to spot and avoid different types of fraud and cybercrime. Our Second message of Scams Awareness Fortnight is about “spoofing”:

An emerging tactic used by fraudsters is the ‘spoofing’ (cloning) of telephone numbers. A decade ago, anyone receiving a suspicious call could look up the number that was calling them to check its legitimacy. No longer is this sufficient advice.

Fraudsters can now clone numbers used by legitimate organisations, your local bank, HMRC,local police station, to make it look like that organisation’s genuine number is calling you.  The fraudster claims to be from that organisation and tries to convince you to do what they say.  This means you cannot rely on your Caller ID display to tell youwho is calling you.

Protect yourself:

Beware unexpected phone callers, whoever they claim to be. If in doubt, never divulge personal details over the phone to someone who has called you. The more you say to a fraudster, the more information they have. Don’t be afraid to hang up. Contact friends or family for advice.

Don’t trust your caller ID display. To verify a call, contact the genuine organisation using a number that you have independently researched. Before doing so, ensure the call has ended and the line has cleared, wait five mins (Some scammers can simulate the sounds of lines clearing to dupe you into dialling while the line is still live), or make the call via a separate phone line where possible.

Institutions such as HMRC, police and banks will never call you to tell you that you/your money is under investigation; nor would they ever ask you to transfer or hand-over money/assets for such a purpose.

Report all scams online to or call 0300 123 2040 giving as much information as possible.

Armed with this advice, you should feel more confident dealing with telephone calls

If you need to reply regarding this message, tap on this email address:

Philip Waine
Watch Liaison Officer
Tel: 01707 355807

Police Contact Advice

  • Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
  • Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents.
  • Alternatively, visit to report a non-emergency crime online or chat to a police operator live via our web chat service.
  • If you are calling about the above message, please tell us that you are responding to a message from OWL.

Photo by Lindsey LaMont on Unsplash

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