Have you ever seen a social media post about something and wondered if it was true? Many of us have received information of a scam or fallen for a hoax but you shouldn’t feel bad about it: these types of messages are carefully designed to look real. Scammers and fraudsters know that we respond automatically to things; we may not think to question what we believe to be true. Sometimes people contact Crimestoppers because they’ve seen a post, message, text or a phone call that appears to have come from us. Here is how to tell if something is an official notice from Crimestoppers:

Official messages about crime will always be provided to the public via our website (www.crimestoppers-uk.org) or our blog (https://blog.crimestoppers-uk.org), official social media channels (TwitterFacebook, Instagram) or the media. Crimestoppers does not contact people via WhatsApp. We do not and cannot call people from our anonymous information reporting phone line 0800 555 111.

Known scams and hoaxes mentioning Crimestoppers

Cold calls

A group of scammers is falsely using our 0800 555 111 number on telephone displays in a bid to make calls seem genuine. The scammers are calling people, saying they are “Crimestoppers at the Home Office” then asking for personal details.

The truth about this scam:

We are not calling people. We do not and cannot call people from 0800 555 111. We would never ask for personal details like this.

What to do if you get a call claiming to be from Crimestoppers:

  1. Never give out your personal information
  2. Report the incident to Action Fraud.

Better Media Solutions scam

There is a scam involving Better Media Solutions. You may have received a phone call from this company, claiming that they are selling advertising space in a Crime Prevention Booklet that we support. After sending you a “mock-up” of the booklet, they also send you an invoice asking for £595.

The truth about this scam:

We do not work with a company called Better Media Solutions. We do not support or endorse their booklet. Any use of Crimestoppers imagery in this booklet is unauthorised.

What to do if you are contacted by Better Media Solutions:

  1. Hang up – don’t engage in a sales conversation,
  2. Report the incident to Action Fraud.

Car Seat Hoax Messages

You may have received a WhatsApp or social media message or email with the following message:

Important message from Crime Stoppers, please read…

While driving on a rural end of the roadway on Thursday morning, I saw an infant car seat on the side of the road with a blanket draped over it. For whatever reason, I did not stop, even though I had all kinds of thoughts running through my head. But when I got to my destination, I called the Police and they were going to check it out. But, this is what the Police advised even before they went out there to check….

“There are several things to be aware of … Gangs and thieves mostly from Eastern Europe are now plotting different ways to get a person (mostly women)to stop their vehicle and get out of the car.

“There is a gang initiation reported by the local Police where gangs are placing a car seat by the road…with a fake baby in it…waiting for a woman, of course, to stop and check on the abandoned baby. “Note that the location of this car seat is usually beside a wooded or grassy (field) area and the person — woman — will be dragged into the woods, beaten and raped, and usually left for dead. If it’s a man, they’re usually beaten and robbed and maybe left for dead, too.

DO NOT STOP FOR ANY REASON!!! DIAL 9-9-9 AND REPORT WHAT YOU SAW, BUT DON’T EVEN SLOW DOWN.

“IF YOU ARE DRIVING AT NIGHT AND EGGS ARE THROWN AT YOUR WINDSCREEN, DO NOT STOP TO CHECK THE CAR, DO NOT OPERATE THE WIPER AND DO NOT SPRAY ANY WATER BECAUSE EGGS MIXED WITH WATER BECOME MILKY AND BLOCK YOUR VISION UP TO 92.5%, AND YOU ARE THEN FORCED TO STOP BESIDE THE ROAD AND BECOME A VICTIM OF THESE CRIMINALS.

THIS IS A NEW TECHNIQUE USED BY GANGS, SO PLEASE INFORM YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES. THESE ARE DESPERATE TIMES AND THESE ARE UNSAVOURY INDIVIDUALS WHO WILL TAKE DESPERATE MEASURES TO GET WHAT THEY WANT.”

Please talk to your loved ones about this. This is a new tactic used. Please be safe.

Get started NOW — SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES TO BE CAREFUL AND AWARE OF EVERYTHING AROUND THEM SO AS NOT TO BECOME A VICTIM.

PLEASE SHARE!!!

The truth about this hoax:

This hoax is an urban legend designed to spread fear and alarm in communities. There is no suggestion that these sorts of attacks are currently taking place. The message has not come from Crimestoppers.

What to do if you receive this message:

  1. Do not pass it on to anyone else. Forwarding this message to others could cause unnecessary panic.
  2. Inform the person who passed it on (if you know them) that the message is a hoax.

For more information about frauds and scams, visit the Fighting Fraud pages on the Crimestoppers website