I just reported an HMRC scam to the Cheshire Constabulary. A recorded message to your landline threatens you with chasing up tax-return fraud and demands you press 1.
The person targeted did press 1 and received a wholly abusive, distressing and utterly frightening experience, from a person who demanded payments with menaces for a period from 1990 to 2015. Beware these horrible calls. The police said the gangsters involved (my term, now; not theirs, then) are even – in some cases – sending preparatory real-world fake letters to householders, before making the calls that follow. The scam is a complete circle of real- and phone-world invention.
You cannot imagine the distress this causes unless you experience it. The police made a note of the number and directed me to the National Fraud and Cybercrime organisation. Unfortunately, the service is limited at weekends, so I shall go online later to register the case and phone number used.
The police at Cheshire Constabulary, meanwhile, were very supportive and even offered to phone the person targeted to provide additional comfort.
Cybercrime is cybercrime: this we all know. But when it enters and combines with the real world of post offices and deliveries, as the police have suggested to me this morning is already beginning to happen, it ups its game a tad terrifyingly.
Don’t let them terrify you.
Instead, remain aware.
We are better than they ever shall be.