During Fraud Awareness Week, starting 15 November, the council’s Trading Standards and Fraud, Risk and Information Security teams want to help make you aware of fraud and how to protect yourself.
With so many of our essential services done online and with many of us working from home, being aware and vigilant to fraud is more important than ever before.
Fraud is a criminal activity where a person, business or organisation is deceived for someone else’s personal gain or to cause a loss.
Below are the three main ways of committing fraud, according to the Fraud Act 2006, with an example of what they could mean:
- False representation – for example, using a stolen credit card to buy something for yourself
- Failure to disclose information – for example, a person failing to disclose true circumstances when making a claim
- Abuse of position – for example, a person who is caring for an elderly person and has access to their bank account and buys something for themselves
Fraud against local government costs over £7 billion nationally each year, and commonly includes:
- False claims for Council Tax discount, benefits, credits or grants
- False accident claims
- Misuse of grant or social care payments
- Misuse of blue badges
Fraud is often detected because of suspicious or odd behaviour by people, such as having a sudden change of lifestyle.
What to do if you suspect fraud
We all have a role to play to help stop fraud, so be extra vigilant and report it if you suspect it:
- Call anonymously for free on 0800 731 5783
- Send a text starting with ‘fraud’ to 07491 163806
- Report it online at wirral.gov.uk/fraud
Similarly, if you think you could be the victim of fraud, an emergency hotline for people to report and check financial scams as they happen, is available by calling 159.
If you receive a call or message from somebody claiming to be from a trusted organisation such as a bank and who suggests money should be transferred, hang up and call 159.
By calling 159, you will be automatically connected to your bank’s fraud prevention services.
The hotline is being supported by Stop Scams UK - a coalition of banking and technology companies.
Banks currently taking part include Barclays, Lloyds (including Halifax and Bank of Scotland), NatWest (including Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank), Santander and Starling Bank.
For more information on 159 hotline, visit Stop Scams UK.