Younger Members’ ScamwiseNI Event

The first of 2 Younger Members’ Committee organised events for 2019 took place on Saturday 5th October in Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim. The committee invited members of the PSNI to come along and talk to Mothers’ Union Members and their friends on how to protect themselves and others on the internet and how to spot and stop scams.

Over 30 ladies and gents attended, the morning opened with prayers and welcome from our Diocesan President Sally Cotter followed by Alison Skillen, Action & Outreach Unit Vice President who introduced our 2 speakers. Our first speaker was Staff Officer Sam who spoke about how there has been a huge increase in scams over the past few years and that the scammers had become much more convincing when trying to extort money from people.

Since May 2019 the monetary value of scams reported to the PSNI came to almost £2million. The method of obtaining the money varied from the doorstep, internet, phone and postal scams. Sam explained the Scam Test; an acronym of SCAM:
• Seems too good to be true
• Contacted out of the blue
• Asked for personal details
• Money requested

We were also reminded that financial Institutions, utility companies, law enforcement, HMRC, internet and telecoms providers or other public bodies:
• Will NEVER ask for payment in vouchers.
• Will NEVER ask you to transfer money because your account is compromised.
• Will NEVER threaten you over the phone, by letter or email for not paying a fee.
• Will NEVER threaten to arrest if payment isn’t made immediately.
• Will NEVER ask for money for a ‘free gift’, ‘admin fee’ or as part of a promotion.
• Will NEVER ask to reveal your account security codes or online passwords in full.
• Will NEVER call out of the blue and ask for remote access to your computer or devices or to download software.
• Will NEVER inform you about tax returns by email, text or voicemail.

Next, it was the turn of Constable Gerry to talk to us about internet safety. Gerry advised us on how to create safer passwords, about not opening links sent in either emails or texts and about parental controls to protect our children and grandchildren when they are using the internet. All the information and tips shared by Sam and Gerry will help protect us all from the dangers of internet usage and scams. Further information about ScamwiseNI can be found on the NIDirect webpage https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni and the ScamwiseNI Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/scamwiseni/
Our Diocesan Younger Members’ Rep Wendy Halligan then showed a short video about Mothers’ Union to raise awareness about what our organisation does as well as giving information on up and coming events in our Diocese.

Alison and Sally concluded the morning with a vote of thanks and concluding comments. Everyone who attended the morning received “goodie bags” from both the Mothers’ Union and PSNI.

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