People across Nottinghamshire are being asked to take five to stop fraud and ensure they do not fall victim to a fraudulent attack by phone, text, email or online.

Everyone should always take five minutes to reflect and step back from the situation if a phone call, message or online exchange requests personal or financial information. Even if an individual says they are the bank or other trusted organisation, you still need to take the time to stop and think about what is really going on.

That is the message from the Nottinghamshire Police and The Safer Nottinghamshire Board.

Take a step back take the five minutes and follow these key steps to avoid falling victim to fraud:
• A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to; that you trust and are expecting to be contacted by.
• Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
• If you’re approached with a request for personal information, don’t provide it. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
• Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Just because someone knows your basic details such as your name and address and even your mother’s maiden name, it doesn’t mean they are genuine.
• Be mindful who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud. They can also make any telephone number appear on your phone handset so even if you recognise it or it seems authentic, do not use it as verification they are genuine.
• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other organisation force you to make a financial decision on the spot. They would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons.
• Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.
• 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 okay to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.

Remember to tell friends and family members to be mindful of scams too, especially those who may be vulnerable or elderly.

Increasingly fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, much of which is targeted at the vulnerable or elderly – you wouldn’t let a burglar into your home so don’t let a fraudster in via their methods of contacting you. That can be via your home phone, the internet, mobile phone, door stopping or through letters. Fraudsters pose as persons in authority, create a sense of urgency to the situation or contact victims when they are expecting something to happen.

So take five minutes, hang up, make a cup of tea and then ring the number known to you and not the one given in the text, email or call.

Janice Towndrow – Parish Clerk