With all our inboxes full of emails offering discounts in the lead up to Black Friday, Derbyshire Constabulary’s fraud-fighting sock puppet Claude is back to warn against ‘too good to be true’ deals.
In their anti-fraud campaign #SockItToTheScammers, Derbyshire Constabulary have used a colourful sock puppet called Claude (rhymes with fraud, get it?) to drum home the message to stop, think and tell when you suspect a scam or fraudulent activity.
The campaign has been widely regarded as a huge success, and there’s even talk of Claude becoming a national ambassador as well as a Derbyshire scam prevention hero.
In the constabulary’s latest video – which you can watch below – Claude pops up out of an old guitar to warn a would-be scam victim about the perils of spear phishing.
Spear phishing is when scammers do their research on a target and personalise a message to trick the victim into clicking a link or providing personal details.
The email or message can be very convincing. It may address you by name, pretend to be from a friend or family member, or offer a specialised deal that appeals to your interests or business.
Clicking the link can allow the scammer to install ‘malware’ on your device, which can pick out personal or financial details and send them to the criminal.
The constabulary’s Fraud Protect Officer Tammy Barnes explains:
“By taking a moment to ‘Stop’ before clicking or replying, you can give yourself time to ‘Think’ and question the email.
“If it’s offering a deal, can you verify this on the company’s website? If the message is reportedly from someone you know, can you verify it via a trusted means?
“If you’re worried that a scammer has your details, please remember to ‘Tell’ and report it to Action Fraud.”
Up-to-date anti-virus software on your devices can also help protect against scams like these, as well as ensuring that you have two factor verification on all your accounts.
“If you’re not expecting the email or message our advice is to ignore it. Never click on links or reply until you’ve verified that it is legitimate.
Suspect a scam? Always remember to Stop! Think! Tell!”
To see all of Claude’s video warnings, search the hashtag #SockItToTheScammers on You Tube or social media.
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).