Protecting against phone scammers

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
4,239
0
Victoria, Australia
Dear Lawson,

"I don’t live in Europe but I don’t believe here you can be forced to pay ILLEGAL or falsely acquired debts, or re pay money that others have obtained illegally."
I think you slightly miss the point here, the scammers are not doing anything illegal BUT they are getting agreements out of our PWD to enter into a contract without them realizing it and then sending them the contract/agreement by post with the possibility to cancel by specific dates which in reality become very difficult for a PWD to do.

I'll give you an example. I wanted to call my sister, she was engaged, I looked up on my account BT.COM who was calling her. I saw that the number had been associated with "appliance scams", so I tried to call my sister again.
She was on for at least 8 mins before I finally got through to her, and told her. I asked her what he had wanted? On nothing, my address I think, nothing else I asked? No? A few days later, such an agreement arrived at my sisters, pre-warned, I had asked the trusted friends to keep their eyes open. They copied it to me. There was a number to cancel, I actually after a while managed to get through. I told them that as PoA I did not agree with setting up this agreement. The response was, "we recorded the conversation and our analysts gave the green light that my sister appeared of sound mind". My sister often used to sound quite lucid yet repetitive on the phone. I said, as PoA with responsibility for her I don't agree. Finally, I sent them a copy of a few pages of the PoA and only then did they back off. But in the meantime the Direct Debit had been set up but nothing yet taken, so I deleted it.
After that I just deleted the Direct Debit which popped up from another company, but since then things are very quiet.

So you see, they are doing nothing illegal, just ripping off the PWD in their vulnerable state. Yes, there is something in the UK called the Direct Debit Guarantee, but they are more skilled in fighting this than we are in fighting for our rights and trying to get money back, in the meantime another month passes, and another DD is paid out.

Re: Credit Cards, I have credit cards in the UK (since 55 years), Switzerland and Germany and never paid for any of them nor paid interest on outstanding amounts, since I always pay off my debts and never use them for "effectively borrowing money I don't have".

I'm sorry if what I have written makes your mind boggle as you put it, I have tried to simplify it to taking precautions about protecting against scam callers. Back in 2016, my sister had no sign of dementia, but in June this year when I was there I came across old records where someone had in fact sold her a 99 Pound yearly contract for a software to stop wait for it, scam callers! But she had read a warning in the Saga magazine about this and had tried to cancel it, she had scribbled on the back of the envelope all the calls she had made - not reachable etc... Finally, she could cancel it, since it would have worked for her anyway.

Over the past years I estimate my sister is about 3000 pounds light because of scammers, initially all small amounts, which increased as months went on. I fought a few, had minimal success, I spent 30 hrs one month in 2020 on International Phone Calls, Switzerland to the UK, fortunately I have a cheaper phone system I use. It was wearing me out. I wasn't sleeping well. I needed protection I could rely on. That is what I did.

Your hubby is lucky to have you near at hand to deal with the financial matters. Maybe in Australia, things are different, but the UK has one of the worst reputations worldwide, I believe in the case of scamming PWDs.
We have it here in Switzerland, I have, of course, full access to my phones and block and report any attempted scam, maybe I get 1 / month now not even that, it used to be much more. If I have time and am bored, I keep them busy for a while until they get fed up and move on, thus having protected someone else during this time, but usually I am brutal, block and report them.

The bottom line is what you take from the information I am putting out there. I have found myself in a way in a personal war zone against the scammers, and I have vowed to do all I can to make their lives more difficult. But now things are much easier for me with the strategy I have followed. I now for example have time to pass this information on.

In the meantime, the care of my sister has moved to a different phase, 24x7 1hr in the morning, 30 mins in the evening to make sure she gets up and eats 2x a day. I have an online Log of each visit. This I need to check sometimes in case there are worrying items. But at least all the finances are under control.
It is illegal here for anyone to sign or create a contract with a person who does not have capacity to do so. That is the whole simple point.

We had a huge Royal Commission a couple of years ago and the Banks and insurance companies were among the biggest scammers of all. They all used financial advisors who were happily signing up disabled people, PWD, minors, even dead people for certain products resulting in huge profits.

One enormous insurance company almost went broke and many companies and banks had to pay massive fines and compensation to their victims. And a few heads rolled.
 

GROCKLE

Registered User
Jul 7, 2021
131
0
75
Switzerland
Dear Lawson,

Of course, I believe it would be illegal in most places to create a contract with a person who does not have capacity to do so. But do scammers obey rules, I don't believe so, they bend them. My concern is for PWD who live alone and friends and relatives have to somehow protect them from these scrupulous persons. As I experienced with my sister's case, 8 mins was sufficient, maybe some groundwork had been done on another occasion, but the fact remains that a person with dementia is unable to remember what happened 2 mins previously. Maybe she did sound competent and lucid on the phone, but she knew nothing about what she had done. I had to stop it from remote, I was fast enough, and with a little help from a 3rd person locally, but it took extra time and effort.
By the sound of things, you are a protective shield for your PWD. If you are always present, that is great. But there are people caring for their PWD who are not omnipresent and have to rely on other methods. There is an old saying "
"Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted" - better to have locked it beforehand. Take all precautions possible to stop the scammers getting to your PWD via the phone system. This is all I'm saying.
To rely on the financial rules and laws at the back end is an additional protection. But if one can find a way to stop it even going that far in the first place, you will sleep better. I do.

Now I just need to worry whether the daily carer can get into the house because my sister has locked the door and left the key in the lock and disappeared into the bathroom for 30 mins. I need really an internet remotely controlled door lock. ;)
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
81,215
0
Kent
Now I just need to worry whether the daily carer can get into the house because my sister has locked the door and left the key in the lock and disappeared into the bathroom for 30 mins. I need really an internet remotely controlled door lock.
I had this problem with my husband and found the solution in a euro cylinder lock

No complications. Easy to fix as long as the measurements are accurate


XFORT® Chrome 35T/35 Thumb Turn Euro Cylinder Lock (70mm), Euro Door Barrel Lock with 3 Keys, Anti-Bump, Anti-Drill, Anti-Pick Door Lock with Key, High Security for Wooden, UPVC and Composite Doors.​



#1 Best Seller in Lock Cylinders

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cylinder-A...rds=euro+cylinder+lock&qid=1659788249&sr=8-3#
  1. XFORT® Chrome 35T/35 Thumb Turn Euro Cylinder Lock (70mm), Euro Door Barrel Lock with 3 Keys, Anti-Bump, Anti-Drill, Anti-Pick Door Lock with Key, High Security for Wooden, UPVC and Composite Doors.

 

GROCKLE

Registered User
Jul 7, 2021
131
0
75
Switzerland
Many thanks for this info, euro cylinder lock, I will check it out. Currently, it is a Yale lock on the kitchen door and I don't know whether I can have a euro cylinder lock fitted, I will try and sort this out the next time I go over.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
81,215
0
Kent
They can be fitted to all doors and if locked on the inside by the knob they can still be unlocked from the outside using the key.

My husband was always locking me out when he thought I was an intruder. This was a perfect solution
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
29,925
0
Bury
Thank you @nitram. Let’s hope something is available for all doors.
Not if it is this type of key
+jo8QH+CN39VwZxdQDM1xw.png

@GROCKLE said yale lock so there is hope, it just needs to use euro cylinder locks.

The clue to a euro cylinder is the screw holding it in

images.jpg
 
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GROCKLE

Registered User
Jul 7, 2021
131
0
75
Switzerland
Thanks for this very useful tip, it is a Yale like this, so I am asking a local locksmith
20220807_113537.jpg

It would be an excellent solution to the current occasional lockout problem.
It's just a simple kitchen door which can be locked/unlocked with the key on the outside and the inside, So I'm hoping the Euro Cylinder solution fits.
With just a knob to turn to lock the door on the inside, we will have a phycological problem though, "Where is my key for the kitchen door" question. "You don't need one now, just turn it", "Oh" and 2 mins later, "I can't find my key". It will take a while, but at least the carers can then enter.
 
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nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
29,925
0
Bury
If it was just a case of leaving inside key in the lock it should be easy to fix.
If it was a deadlock with key turned it would need either the outside or inside cylinder changing so the keys are different and the key for inside being lost.
76112.jpg


Locking the inside prevents the lever being used to open the door and protects against entry by breaking a glass pane and accessing the lever.

Thumbturn euro cylinders are liked by fire and rescue because they lessen the chance of somebody being trapped in a fire, they are not liked by some insurance companies because they provide an quick and easy exit for thieves carrying bulky objects that are difficult to get through the small, maybe upstairs, window they got in through.
 

GROCKLE

Registered User
Jul 7, 2021
131
0
75
Switzerland
I had this problem with my husband and found the solution in a euro cylinder lock

No complications. Easy to fix as long as the measurements are accurate


XFORT® Chrome 35T/35 Thumb Turn Euro Cylinder Lock (70mm), Euro Door Barrel Lock with 3 Keys, Anti-Bump, Anti-Drill, Anti-Pick Door Lock with Key, High Security for Wooden, UPVC and Composite Doors.​



#1 Best Seller in Lock Cylinders

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cylinder-A...rds=euro+cylinder+lock&qid=1659788249&sr=8-3#
  1. XFORT® Chrome 35T/35 Thumb Turn Euro Cylinder Lock (70mm), Euro Door Barrel Lock with 3 Keys, Anti-Bump, Anti-Drill, Anti-Pick Door Lock with Key, High Security for Wooden, UPVC and Composite Doors.

Euro Cylinder Lock​

Thanks to the information about this from Grannie G & @nitram, I contacted a locksmith at the weekend and a trusted friend visited and photographed my sister's kitchen door lock today which I exchanged with the locksmith via WhatsApp, and he said he could already install the Euro Cylinder Lock tomorrow morning.
All arranged at a time when a carer will be there with full instructions about the keys, one for my sister, the others in the key and pill safes. Thank you everybody for your advice.
I'm happier, the carer team are happier, trusted friends are happier.
We told my sister it's for her safety, so she can get out easily in case of fire, and also that the carers can enter in case she forgets and leaves the key in the lock. She understood, whether she still understands tomorrow?

It actually comes at a good time, at the end of the week the Fire Brigade are making a safety check on the property.
Having this easily undoable lock instead of a key in a panic situation is better than fumbling with a key. Also, in the event of that not working and the key safe code not being known, then a simple window can be broken, and the door opened. ?
I just heard, task completed without complications :)
 
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GROCKLE

Registered User
Jul 7, 2021
131
0
75
Switzerland
Another point that has not been mentioned is that if a caller gets through and starts talking banking, telling you to look at what your caller ID says and compare it with the number on the back of your card it's a fake call even if the numbers are the same.

Banks don't use that number for outgoing calls.
Spoofing the CLI is trivial and costs less than £1/minute.
Most UK software will not allow spoofing bank etc numbers so the cost increases to over £1/minute by using a foreign site.

The upcoming move to VoIP inherently makes spoofing easier although their is hope that recommendations will be made by Ofcom
https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.p...-number-spoofing-to-tackle-uk-spam-calls.html .

Also whilst on the call don't take the offer of ringing the bank without making another call first.
The simple con is they don't hang up and you just dial, hear a ringing tone which stops leaving you connected to the fraudster who ask what you want and proceeds to verify the request they just made.
This can be overcome by checking there is a dial tone before ringing.
The advanced con is to give you a dial tone, hence check by ringing another number.
A good choice of test number would be one with IVR (interactive voice response) - press 1 for ****etc

RipOffBritain Article​

There was a scary program on BBC's RipOffBriain Program last Tuesday about a woman who, even without dementia, had lost 500k to scammers despite the banks trying to advise her against it because she had built up so much confidence and trust in the scammers. Exactly the vishing method mentioned above is detailed in a somewhat less technical way in this RipOff Britain paper on how to steer clear of scammers.

There is also an interesting article on the RipOffBritain website about How credit cards can help protect your cash
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
29,925
0
Bury
Another common scam, omitting confidence building flannel.

Bank here, there's an attempted fraudulent withdrawal on your account <account sort code and number>.

It's by a very active group of online criminals.

Police are aware and have activated a red warning on your account.

This means bank cannot stop withdrawal thus breaking trail to the criminal unless you request it to be stopped.

Would you like us to stop it?

Yes please

We will need to get your permission to pass on to police, we will send you a text/email with a code, if you then tell us this code we will pass it onto the police who will then permit us to take necessary action.

The code arrives from the bank, person passes it on to scammer , the code was a check from your bank that it really was you making the purchase, the scammer used it allowing transaction to complete.
 

GROCKLE

Registered User
Jul 7, 2021
131
0
75
Switzerland

Euro Cylinder Lock​

Thanks to the information about this from Grannie G & @nitram, I contacted a locksmith at the weekend and a trusted friend visited and photographed my sister's kitchen door lock today which I exchanged with the locksmith via WhatsApp, and he said he could already install the Euro Cylinder Lock tomorrow morning.
All arranged at a time when a carer will be there with full instructions about the keys, one for my sister, the others in the key and pill safes. Thank you everybody for your advice.
I'm happier, the carer team are happier, trusted friends are happier.
We told my sister it's for her safety, so she can get out easily in case of fire, and also that the carers can enter in case she forgets and leaves the key in the lock. She understood, whether she still understands tomorrow?

It actually comes at a good time, at the end of the week the Fire Brigade are making a safety check on the property.
Having this easily undoable lock instead of a key in a panic situation is better than fumbling with a key. Also, in the event of that not working and the key safe code not being known, then a simple window can be broken, and the door opened. ?
I just heard, task completed without complications :)

Similar Replacement for a Mortice Lock​

Well the above solution was so far successful for the carers and friends, not sure my sister yet has got used to being without a key to open/lock the kitchen door. As with all PWDs, she lives by her habits not by thinking and maybe hasn't yet got to grip with the slightly different way of doing things. I'm hoping she will if carers and friends keep showing her how easy it is. We have another lock in the house, a mortice lock, which if you remove the key once, is incredibly difficult to insert to find the right turning point. Until now, we haven't as yet had a problem with this door, she never removes the key, but as a precaution I sent my new locksmith a picture of the lock and asked him if there would be a similar solution to the Euro Cylinder key on the outside, thumb latch on the inside. Apparently yes, but is not as easy to do as the Yale lock and needs about 2 hrs of manpower. But it is doable.
But first I will wait for my sister to master the new kitchen door lock ?
 

mikeb2

Registered User
May 17, 2022
217
0
My OH went to the bank to try and sort some problems out and then disclosed he is having trouble with Memory etc
To cut it short my husband got a debit card but the bank recommended he has a credit card instead- he is still able to use cash machine at moment has long he got info to hand
Is a credit card better than Debit card for his problems
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
29,925
0
Bury
Plus side - a credit card has better protection against fraud.

Minus side - cash withdrawals will be charged daily interest and maybe a cash withdrawal fee.
 

GROCKLE

Registered User
Jul 7, 2021
131
0
75
Switzerland

Credit cards maybe offer better protection in the UK​

Check this out in google
" does a credit card in the UK provide more protection than a debit card in the UK? "

Since credit cards offer fraud liability protections that debit cards do not, meaning online purchases with credit come with fewer risks. So if you're debating debit or credit for online shopping, pick credit for a safer shopping experience.

I provided my sister with a Cashcard to withdraw cash, all debit cards are blocked and the cashcard is used by a trusted friend. All other payments I manage through my registered power of attorney access and Direct Debits.

The biggest problem remains with phone scammers who can be very persuasive to get hold of the account information. But this I have solved with Do Not Disturb except for a few registered numbers.
 
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mikeb2

Registered User
May 17, 2022
217
0
Also my OH still maintaining employment at the moment and has a failed TKR so-he has asked Access to work for a grant for a mobility scooter= this has been turn down stating they don't provide help with these- another request turn down- the more we try to get help the more despondent I feel for him
 

GROCKLE

Registered User
Jul 7, 2021
131
0
75
Switzerland

Just my experience,​

the problem with the bank accounts is as follows: If there is any record of the sort code and the account number around, the person is potentially in danger from being scammed.

1. Forget scratching the 3 digits away, just take the cards away from the person who has dementia
2. Remove all bank account paperwork and stop postal account notifications
3. Remove all online and wireless transaction possibilities on the account
4. If the person concerned needs cash, some banks offer cash cards which a trusted person can get money for them, the way that we do it. You cannot use them for online transactions or anything else.

The problem is the way the telephone scammers work,
There is a huge database behind them, a person may call on the basis that they say they are from the bank and there have been some strange activities on the account, we need to check the last four digits only for security reasons, but do not give the others. Thank you madam, your account is safe. But they have now part of the number the name, possibly they have asked this for security reasons and the last 4 digits,
A few weeks go by, another voice calls on another pretence about the renewal of a direct debit on your account, could we please check the first 4 digits. And so on they are slowly methodically building up a database.
Another will call to say that the Indesit Washing Machine insurance needs renewing, the called person says or is induced to say, I don't have an Indesit, I have a Hotpoint? Oh, how long have you had that then?
Another call, checking the address - more information.
More information for the database. When they have enough, a letter arrives in the post for the renewal of your Hotpoint appliance insurance, only xx per month from the account (your account), usually inceasing. If you don't agree with this, then call .... to cancel by yy/yy/2022 and of course you cannot reach them, failure to cancel with start the agreement and the Direct Debit will be setup.
The arrangements are often for Appliance Support or Service or similar names.
Typically, they are in operation for less than a year from the ones that I have traced, then a new company is formed, same or similar address, same CEO.
There are numerous scams out there, but they are all after your information and the information probably gets shared/reused even sold.

So I took the radical decision to put DO NOT DISTURB on my sister's phone using BT's Call Protect and only allow specified VIP persons/numbers to call her. You need to have Internet control of the BT Account to do this.
It worked for me and the scammers have dried up, but their automated systems still keep trying without success however the number of attempts per month has been reduced from 100 to about 30-40.

Protecting against phone scammers. BT Call Protect used effectively and successfully
BT Call Protect used effectively and successfully - how?

Once in early days, I saw a known scammer number trying to call my sister, I called her, engaged, it was 8 minutes before I got through to her. What did he want? Not sure was the answer, checking the address or something.
A few days later, a trusted friend found one of these contract letters in the post and almost immediately a Direct Debit had been entered onto the account, which I immediately deleted.

Hmm, felt secure in recent times, but out of the blue, a fraudulent Direct Debit suddenly appeared​

I am sure that this relates to the above incident . Back in January 2021, after a known scam number called my sister for 8 mins, there was a fraudulent insurance contract DD set in the account, and Post in her house. I deleted it, and nothing was taken. This was the only time that the new account number had been breached. Since then, I placed the full Do Not Disturb on her phone number apart from VIP numbers, I have discussed this in detail previously in this forum. This operation has been a complete success.

Moving on from January 2021, I used to check my Bank App Access to my sister's account, mornings and evenings for unknown DDs. Only once shortly afterward, did I find one which I immediately deleted. In June 2022 I was first time I was able to visit my sister in person (COVID restrictions) and I then set up an increased level of professional home care. After 11 days with her, I was satisfied, no one was getting through on the phone and there was no relevant post to be worried about. I went off guard a little and no longer diligently checked her bank account daily, things were going well on the financial and care side, just sadly, increasingly badly on the dementia side and more care is now needed.

I noticed this morning that a Home insurancelbis Direct Debit had taken 34.01 Pounds from her account! How was this possible? For me the only explanation is that her New Account Banking Information is still out there and either the company who obtained it in January 2021, has either changed their company name, they do regularly btw., or her details have been sold or passed on to another company. I must have missed the pop-up on the banking App.

My immediate actions this morning:
  1. Copied the information about the Fraudulent Direct Debit
  2. Canceled the Home insurancelbis Direct Debit, only one payment had been taken.
  3. Called the bank and reported that 4 days ago a Fraudulent unknown Direct Debit # had been placed on the account without our permission. # This triggered 4. below!
  4. Asked them to make an Indemnity Claim and Refund, which they did
  5. 3 hours later the money had been refunded to my account.
During my discussion with the bank they indicated, but not really confirmed that since this was marked as a fraudulent transaction, the fraudsters would not be able to enter a similar transaction from that company on my sister's account again. Maybe they won't bother anymore, someone is watching this account it seems that would be wishful thinking.
But, sadly what they can do is create a new company and then try to repeat the operation, there is nothing to stop them or another company from doing this.

So the bottom line is, once your banking information is out there, you will constantly have to be on your guard unless you change your bank account. So keep it safe - take precautions against phone scammers in the first place.
I've been there and done that once, pensions, attendance allowance, legal Direct Debits, all would have to be changed. It's quite a struggle living abroad as a Power of Attorney for UK accounts.

It means sadly I shall have to continue my daily check of my sister's DDs and watch the pop-ups more carefully.
I also now realize, despite it not being easy for me with international calls, that maybe not just the cancellation of a fraudulent DD is necessary, but if you can, report it to the bank too. That way the fraudster is maybe more likely to be made aware that the account is really being watched. Not that they care that much, they just try and try again.
 

SuzGre

New member
Oct 24, 2023
2
0
Thank you! So helpful. My mum was scammed again by one of those appliance scammers just yesterday. I'm good online and computer literate so I'll do some of your suggestions