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Scam Busters

This webpage aims to keep you updated with reported scams that Dorset Police has been made aware of.

The incidents and details reported on this webpage may not necessarily be criminal offences. However, this information is provided to you in the hope that it keeps you informed about possible scams or high pressured cold calling in Dorset so that you can guard against falling victim to them.

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3 December 2012

Action Fraud – the new national reporting centre for all fraud and cyber crime – is now live in Dorset.

Link to the Action Fraud website - Link opens new windowIt means that members of the public and businesses should report incidents of fraud to this ‘one stop shop’ rather than to their local police force. However, to report a crime in progress or where life is at risk you should continue to call 999.

How to contact Action Fraud

Call 0300 123 2040 or visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ to report a scam or fraud.

While Action Fraud is a reporting service, it also provides victims with advice and guidance on how to limit their chances of becoming a repeat victim of this type of crime.

It also provides the latest information and advice regarding types of scams and fraud and therefore a direct link to the Action Fraud website will replace this scambusters web page as of Monday 17 December.



Get Safe Online Week

Get Safe Online Week is a national awareness campaign which runs from Monday 22 to Friday 26 October 2012.

The campaign promotes online safety tips and advice covering areas such as protecting your computer, fraud prevention, scams, safe online shopping and safe social networking.

Follow this link to go to the Get Safe Online website or click here for more information.



24 October 2012

Pension bonus telephone scam

Residents are being advised to be aware of a pension bonus telephone scam.

The scammers are telephoning people and stating they are from the Pension Helpline. The caller then claims that the victim is due a £1,000 bonus within the next 12 weeks. The caller may even be able to provide some of the victim’s personal information such as name or address.

Dorset Police advice is, as ever, never provide any personal information to a cold caller. Always telephone the company directly from a number on your paperwork or get the number from a telephone directory to confirm if the call was genuine. 

You can register both your landline and mobile numbers with the following free services and are advised to do so on a yearly basis.

  • The Telephone Preference Service – 0845 070 0707 
  • Silent Call Guard – 0844 372 2325


If you believe you have been the victim of any such scam then you should also report the matter to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report it on their website: http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud



14 August 2012

Email scam

Members of the public should not be tricked into sending money to scammers who use emails to ask for loans that will never be paid back.

These emails may also appear to be sent from an email address that the victim knows. This is because the scammers have hacked into the victim’s email contacts.

In the emails, scammers claim to have suffered some bad luck – for example, being robbed or mugged – during a holiday and ask the victim to loan them money to cover their costs of returning home.

The scammer asks the victim to reply to the email to arrange the easiest way to transfer money to them. This is a scam, and members of the public should not reply to fraudulent emails like this.

An example of one of these emails is provided below:


Am so sorry you will be getting this message this point in time, I traveled on an impromptu trip with my family to Madrid,Spain some days Back.  Our trip was fun till yesterday evening on our way from the Cinemas, We got mugged at a taxi park.All cash, credit Cards including our cell Phones were stolen away from us but thank God we still have our lives and passport with us. We've been to the embassy over here but we are told to wait for at least 48Hours before anything can be done to assist us. The main  problem now is that our return Flight leaves very soon and i need your Help with a Quick loan of  €2,500 EUR to settle the hospital Bills, hotel bills and take a cab to the airport.I promise to refund the money immediately i return back Home. Please let me know so that i can let you know of the easiest way to get the money wired to I owe you a lot & apologize for any inconveniences this might have caused you

Awaiting your response.



28 July 2012

Olympic ticket website warning

The Met Police are today warning members of the public who may have bought tickets for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games through the website www.liveolympictickets.com that the site is not authorised and they may not get their tickets.

Anyone who has bought a ticket for the Games from this website is urged to:
- contact the company you originally tried to buy tickets from
- contact your method of payment service provider and draw this matter to their attention.

Detective Superintendent Nick Downing said:

“This website is not authorised to sell Olympic and Paralympic tickets and people who have bought from them may find that they do not receive any tickets or they are unable to get into the venue. If you have bought any tickets for the Games from liveolympictickets, please take action now.

The website has now been suspended as our investigation continues.”

Other websites that police have previously issued warnings about include:

- eurosportstickets.com
- jetsetsport.info
- sportticketexchange.com
- www.2012-londonsummergames.org
- www.2012-londonsummergames.com
- www.euroteam.net
- www.tixnet.com
- www.olympicticket.info
- www.euroteam.info
- www.euroteamtickets.com
- www.2012tickets.org
- www.londonsummergames.net
- www.londonsummergames.org
- www.euroteam.travel
- www.worldticketservice.net

The only way to buy tickets for this summer's Games, safely and securely, is via www.london2012.com. If you buy from an unofficial site or from a tout, you risk paying over the odds for a ticket that may not exist, may not be genuine and you risk not getting to see the Games. You should not travel unless you have received the tickets you purchased.

If you believe you have been a victim of ticket related fraud, please report it via the Action Fraud website: http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/


17 July 2012

DVLA scam email

Dorset Police is warning the public about a scam email claiming to be from the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).

The email claims that the DVLA are upgrading their database and all drivers are required to update and verify their driver's license details. To do this, a web link is provided.

The email goes on to claim that drivers who refuse to upgrade their details within two weeks of receiving the email will lose their driver's license and will have to take a fresh driving test.

The DVLA has not sent any such email, so if you receive one, please delete it immediately.

More details about this scam are available to view on the Directgov website here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_194193


15 June 2012

Advertising space scam

Dorset Police is warning small businesses to be on their guard against scammers claiming to be selling advertising space in a community magazine.

On some occasions, the caller even claims to be a police officer selling space in a Dorset Police magazine.

Please be aware, Dorset Police does not produce any such magazine, and we would not cold call businesses to sell advertising space.

Through the scam, the victim pays money into a bank account or pays by credit/debit card but no proofs are ever received and the magazine is not produced.


28 May 2012

Possible online bank fraud

Members of the public are being warned to be on their guard against a possible scam where the victim receives an email asking them to update their bank account information following a recent system security update and system maintenance.

This email, which has been reported to the Force, claims to be from the Co-Operative Bank. However, other scam emails of this nature may also claim to be from other well known and established banks.

This email says that the victim should re-update their bank account information by downloading a security update web form and submitting it to them.

Members of the public are advised not to provide their bank details to any organisation, unless they are 100% certain that the organisation is genuine and not fraudulent.


16 May 2012

Possible recovery scam

Members of the public are being encouraged to be on their guard against a possible scam where the victim receives a letter from a recovery company that claims the victim has an outstanding bill that needs to be paid within 24 hours.

The letter provides a telephone number for the victim to ring. When the victim phones the number, they are told to provide their bank account details over the phone or to go and physically draw some money out and pay it into a specific bank account.

Members of the public should not provide bank details or cash to anyone or any organisation that they suspect may be fraudulent.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact Dorset Police on 101 or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.


5 April 2012

Advertising space scam

Police are encouraging businesses to be on their guard against a scam which claims to be selling advertising space.

In this scam, the victim is contacted by a company claiming to produce a publication that focuses on crime prevention and tackling rogue traders. The caller will try and encourage the victim to buy advertising space in the publication and may also offer a 10% discount if the victim pays early.

The victim may also be contacted by the offender again, chasing the payment.

Businesses should only agree to pay for advertising space in publications that they know are genuine. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into paying for something that you are unsure about.


28 March 2012

Amazon scam warning

Members of the public are being warned not to respond to a spam email that claims to be from Amazon.

The email reads as follows:


Dear Amazon Account Holder,

You have an Important message from the Amazon. Your Amazon account will be restricted if you do not view and respond.

Click the below link to view message.

[Scam website address displayed here]

Yours Sincerely,



If anyone receives an email like this, they should not respond or provide any details. If possible, please forward it to stop-spoofing@amazon.com or visit the Amazon website for more information by following this link -  http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=15340571


6 March 2012

Warning to retailers abour credit card scam

Dorset Police is encouraging retailers to be aware of scams where offenders purchase items over the phone to be collected by using stolen credit or debit cards.

The offenders usually send a taxi to collect the purchased items.

However, when the genuine card holder discovers that their card has been used illegally to purchase items, they contact their bank who invariably operate a ‘chargeback’ which takes the money back out of the retailers account.

The type of items being purchased by these offenders are ones which are easy to sell on online auction sites, like baby clothes, spa products and high value electrical goods.

Retailers should be cautious about such transactions, and contact their financial institutions with regard to precautions they can take.


Online pet purchasing scam

People buying pets online are being warned not to fall victim to scams.

Through this scam, pets (most often dogs) are advertised for sale online, with buyers purchasing the animals after they’ve been sent photos of the pet by the seller. The seller generally agrees to deliver the pet by courier.

However, the pet never arrives. In some cases, the victim even receives an email saying that the animal has become ill en route and so the victim must pay additional vet or insurance fees. 

The advice to purchasers is to be extremely cautious when purchasing goods – including pets – online from strangers.


Online car purchasing scam

Dorset Police is warning people purchasing cars online to be on their guard against a scam that leaves them conned out of money, and without a car.

The scam works by the offender advertising a car for sale on an online site such as Auto Trader, eBay or Gum Tree. The car will, apparently, be located a considerable distance away from the purchaser to make it too far away for them to go and look at it.

The victim likes the look of the car from what they’ve seen online, and thinks they are getting a good deal, so they agree to buy it.

However, the car does not turn up because it never existed. The offender has used a picture of a car previously advertised legitimately.

The offender may also give a sob story about having been previously messed around by timewasters, and so asks the victim to deposit money in Western Union in victim’s name or the name of someone known to victim.

The offender convinces the victim that they would then not actually be able to get to the money as ID would be required. The offender asks for the payment reference number and the name given so that they can, apparently, check that the money has been deposited. However, the offender then turns up at Western Union with false ID in the name given and is able to obtain the funds.



20 February 2012

Public warned not to fall victim to credit card scams

Police are encouraging the public to be on their guard against credit card scams, after two recent offences targeted older members of the community in Bournemouth.

The two offences, which both took place over the past month, start with the victims receiving a telephone call from someone claiming to be from their bank.

Link to the Action Fraud website - Link opens new windowIn both cases, the caller stated that the victim’s debit or credit card was about to expire and that a new one would be sent to them via a courier.

The caller then asked for the victim’s pin number. Both of the victims gave their pin numbers to the caller.

The next day, someone claiming to be the courier attended the victim’s home address and exchanged the old card for a new one.

The victims have then had money taken out of their accounts.

Debbie Oldfield, Dorset Police Crime Prevention Advisor, said: “These are callous crimes which appear to have deliberately targeted older members of the community.

“It is so important that people do not hand over their pin numbers or bank cards to anyone, no matter how genuine they appear to be.

“Your bank will not ask for your pin number or any personal information over the telephone.

“I am particularly keen to encourage family and friends of older or vulnerable members of our community to help them and ensure that they don't fall victim to these sorts of scams.

“If you believe that you may have been a victim of a scam like this, then I’d urge you to call Dorset Police on 101 immediately.”

More fraud prevention advice can be found on the Action Fraud website at http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/.



16 February 2012

Postal inheritance scam

Dorset Police is encouraging members of the public to be aware of a scam letter that a large number of residents in Weymouth have recently received.

The letter informs the resident that they are a relative of someone who has recently died and that they have been left a large sum of money.

The letter may be from someone claiming to be from Hong Kong.

This is a scam and Dorset Police is advising residents that receive this letter to ignore it.



7 February 2012

Credit card security number fraud

Dorset Police is encouraging members of the public not to fall victim to a scam aimed at getting victims to part with the three digit security number on their credit cards.

During this scam, the victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be from Visa, Mastercard or a similar company. They claim to be phoning from the Security and Fraud Department and provide the victim with their badge number.

The caller says they are phoning because the victim’s card has been flagged up for an unusual purchase pattern. They ask if the victim has purchased an anti-telemarketing device for £497.99 from a marketing company in London. When the victim says no, the caller says they will issue a credit to the victim’s account and then say that it will be sent to the victim’s home address. The caller then reads the victim’s home address to the victim. The caller then tells the victim if they have any questions to phone the number on the back of their credit card and gives them a six digit code to quote.

The caller then says they need to confirm that the victim is in possession of their credit card and asks them to read out the last three numbers on the back of the card – the three digit security number. This is the information that they need to illegally make purchases on your card – do not provide them with this information. The caller already has the victim’s name and card number, so they just need the three digit security number in order to commit fraud.



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