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Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner falls victim to scam

PUBLISHED: 07:57 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:39 11 January 2019

Norfolk police and crime commisssioner Lorne Green.  Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk police and crime commisssioner Lorne Green. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner has revealed how he recently fell victim to a TV licensing scam.

Lorne Green told a public meeting how he gave his credit card details away thinking his TV licence had expired.

But he was later forced to cancel his card after realising he had been duped by fraudsters.

It comes as new figures reveal victims lost more than £8m through fraud in a six-month period in Norfolk last year.

Speaking at the Forum in Norwich on Wednesday, Mr Green said the incident left him feeling “a little embarrassed”.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “I was tired after a long day and as I scanned through my emails I came across a very convincing message saying that I needed to re-register my TV licence and without really thinking I put in my credit card details.

“I have to say it was very convincing and it just goes to show just how vigilant you have to be.

“After a couple of minutes I realised that surely, if that were the case, I would have received a letter so I cancelled the transaction [by cancelling the credit card].”

In September, Norfolk Trading Standards warned people about fake TV licencing emails which were sent out to people.

Earlier this month a couple from Hampshire revealed how they lost almost £10,000 after falling victim to the scam.

Mr Green added: “As Police and Crime Commissioner I am only too aware of the lengths these despicable fraudsters will go to – and yet I was initially taken in.

“It’s real important that, as a county, we continue to raise awareness of what scams are, and encourage people to report and, where possible, protect potential victims.”

£13.4m stolen in Norfolk through fraud

Data from the cyber crime monitor Action Fraud said £13.4m was stolen from victims in Norfolk between October 2017 and September 2018.

In a six-month period between April and September last year, £8.1m was stolen - with 3,061 fraud crimes reported from within our county.

Half of those reports came from individuals, with the other half from businesses.

Action Fraud said three out of the 20 victims from that period were identified as vulnerable.

An Action Fraud spokesman said: “Fraud has been increasing, both nationally and in Norfolk. People should not give any personal information to someone before verifying who they are.

“Every report matters. If someone believes they or someone they know has fallen victim to fraud, we would urge them to report it to Action Fraud.”

Advice to avoid scams

• Get scams savvy – Knowledge is power so educate yourself on the types of scams affecting people in your area. Norfolk Trading Standards publishes details of recent scams on its Facebook/Twitter accounts and webpages, where you can also sign up for scam alerts by email.

• Listen to your gut instinct – don’t assume everyone is genuine. It’s better to be suspicious and safe, than trusting and taken for a ride. Remember:

- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

- If you’ve not entered a competition or lottery, you can’t have won a prize.

-Never respond to unexpected communications or disclose your security details.

- Don’t buy goods or services from telephone or doorstep cold callers.

• Report it – anyone can be a scam victim. You are not alone and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. Your report could make all the difference to the authorities working to identify offenders and stop what has happened to you happening to someone else.

• You can report scams to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06, or to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Both agencies also have an online reporting form – details of which can be found on the Norfolk Trading Standards webpage norfolk.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/scams

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