POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has warned local County, Town and Community Councillors of potential fraudulent activity as several members of the public are targeted by criminals.
Councillors’ contact details are freely available online, and as a result they are constantly being targeted by fraudsters. Such fraud includes phishing emails which encourage donations to bogus organisations, subscriptions and links to pages that steal their information, and fake tax refunds.
These emails attempt to trick councillors and the general public into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.
Police and Crime Commissioner is calling on Councillors and the general public to be extra vigilant, especially in the run up to Christmas, and said; “We have seen a significant increase in cyber-crime this year – mainly as a result of the pandemic. Criminals have been taking advantage Coronavirus and the lockdown to trick the general public, and our local Councillors in particular into handing over money and personal information.
“The Cyber Crime Unit at Dyfed-Powys Police have been working closely with One Voice Wales – the organisation for community and town councils in Wales, to ensure that Councillors are being made aware of any new scams as quickly as possible”.
“The Cyber Crime Unit have also been receiving a number of calls claiming councillors are emailing constituents asking for Gift Cards to be purchased. This again is another example of an online scam, but some people are likely to believe it”.
“Just in the last week, residents in Dyfed Powys have lost thousands of pounds to people who claim to be from the police or their bank. In the lead up to Christmas, criminals will be taking every opportunity to try and scam money out of the decent, honest people of Dyfed Powys”.
DC Gareth Jordan from the Cyber Crime Unit at Dyfed-Powys Police said:
“Always take five when answering a call or an email. It could be five seconds, five minutes or five days”.
“Just stop what you are doing, put the phone down and ask yourself ‘is this call genuine?
“Phone the bank yourself, don’t take it for granted that the bank has phoned you.
“If you allow a criminal to move money from your account or if you get the money out for the criminal, you will probably not get the money back from the bank.”
PCC Dafydd Llywelyn concluded,
“Scammers are ruthless, unscrupulous individuals who don’t care about the impact of their actions. I appeal to people to be vigilant, particularly when they are online. You can never be too careful. Be mindful of uninvited approaches”.
“Take five, think twice, think fraud”.
To report a fraud or get help and advice on fraud prevention, report it to Dyfed-Powys Police via 101 or visit Action Fraud online or Phone: 0300 1232040.