WITH the number of reported fraud cases soaring in Oxfordshire, it is important to know the telltale signs that someone is trying to trick you.

The following advice to protect against scams was taken from The Little Book of Big Scams by Thames Valley Police. Find it in its entirety at bit.ly/2OqC6ve - 

  • Be suspicious of all ‘too good to be true’ offers and deals. There are no guaranteed get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Do not agree to offers or deals immediately. Insist on time to obtain independent/legal advice before making a decision
  • Do not hand over money or sign anything until you have checked the credentials of the company or individual
  • Never send money to anyone you do not know or trust, whether in the UK or abroad, or use methods of payment that you are not comfortable with
  • Never give banking or personal detail to anyone you do not know or trust. This information is valuable so make sure you protect it
  • Always log onto a website directly rather than clicking links provided in an email
  • Do not rely solely on glowing testimonials; find solid independent advice of a company’s success
  • Always get independent/legal advice if an offer involves money, time or commitment
  • If you spot a scam or have been scammed report it and get help. Contact ActionFraud on 0300 1232040 or online at actionfraud.police.uk. Contact the police if the suspect is known or still in the area.
  •  Do not be embarrassed to report a scam. Because the scammers are cunning and clever there is no shame in being deceived. By reporting you will make it more difficult for them to deceive others.


The Oxford Mail reports on a growing number of scams to raise awareness among people in the county.

A report from last month involved an 82-year-old woman from Oxford who was minutes away from handing over £12,000.

Fortunately, her own suspicions eventually came into play and she contacted the police.

The grandmother-of-three was alone at her Hollow Way home last month when she received a call from a man claiming to be a sergeant with the Metropolitan Police fraud squad.

She said: “He told me my money had been used in a major crime involving Lloyd’s and that the police needed my help to work out if more notes were counterfeit.

“He sounded so plausible, but it was when he said to ring up and call 999 to check his story that I really believed him because the woman I spoke with said what he had told me was the truth.

The pensioner withdrew the cash, lying to the cashier under instructions from the scammers, but quickly began to have doubts.

She contacted the police who told her it was a common approach taken by fraudsters.

Prior to that, in May, an 80-year-old woman in Thame came close to giving away £5,000 after being stung by a similar con.

In June fraudsters ‘harvested’ bank details from a resident after conning her in a scam phone call.

Police said the con man called the woman’s home in Letcombe Regis near Wantage, claimed to be from BT and persuaded her to allow him to remotely take control of her computer.

A spokesman for the force said at the time: “Unfortunately the victim let the caller take control of her computer and they were able to harvest all her information including bank details. In this case the bank stopped it.”

Earlier this month, we reported on a 90-year-old woman who was defrauded of more than £2,000 by a cleaner who she counted as a friend.

Muriel Anne ‘Sally’ Edmonds (pictured), from Carterton, fell victim to Tracy Crouch, a client of three-and-a-half years, who made payments into her PayPal account after gaining access to Mrs Edmonds’ bank details.

Crouch, also from Carterton, was sentenced to 30 weeks and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £140 after pleading guilty to one count of fraud at Oxford Crown Court.

Mrs Edmonds’s daughter Anita Weir said: “My mum’s had a year of worrying and blaming herself.

“Her world has got smaller due to this woman’s actions.

“She’s got to 90 without losing so much as a car key but now thinks the world isn’t the nice, trusting place she thought it was.”

In March, the Oxford Mail reported on a surge in a telephone fraud involving scammers pretending to be from victims’ banks.

Fraudsters would cold-call people’s homes and try to persuade residents that there was a problem with their accounts before urging them to hand over sums of cash.