With over 1.3 billion people logging on to their favourite social media accounts every month, fraudsters are using this as the perfect opportunity to con innocent people out of their money.
Trivallis’ STEPS team intervened just before Allyson Evans from Pontypridd fell victim to online fraud for a second time.
Allyson said: “I got an instant message on Facebook what looked like the profile of an old friend. The message explained that she had won thousands of pounds in an online competition and contained a link where I could check if I’d been lucky too.”
Allyson followed the link and immediately started receiving direct messages from another Facebook profile.
“They kept telling me I couldn’t tell anyone about the competition until I’d got my prize money because it might spoil my chance of winning. I was in a really vulnerable place at the time and needed the money, so I just went along with it.” She explained.
Allyson was asked to purchase £300 worth of Amazon vouchers online and send the codes back to the messenger with the promise of thousands of pounds in return. She borrowed money from a friend and did just that, then the penny dropped.
“After I sent the £300 voucher codes, I had a message saying they needed £800 more. I did not have that kind of money and it was then I realised that I had been scammed. I was devastated. I replied to say that I was reporting this to the police then the profile was deleted, and the money was gone.”
Clare Jones, tenancy support officer at Trivallis, said: “I support Allyson with maintaining her tenancy and preventing her from becoming a victim of fraud is so important, as it could lead to thousands of pounds worth of debt.
“Allyson told us that she received a call from HMRC stating that she owed money to them and had to pay over the phone to avoid bailiffs taking all of her possessions – it was a scam.
“We advised Allyson never to give her bank details over the phone and always ask for information in letters. We also helped Allyson to report this to the police. I’m just so glad we stopped it when we did, or she could have been scammed for a second time.”
On its website, Action Fraud states: “Never click on links you can’t verify and remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“Action Fraud is also reminding Facebook users that clicking on links can result in unwittingly giving scammers access to your personal information, which can result in identity theft and fraud.”
For more information on staying safe online, visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk
To find out if our STEPS team could help you or someone you know, visit: www.trivallis.co.uk/STEPS