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Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the material contained within all Derbyshire audit services' alerts is reliable, no representation is made that information is accurate or that legal or other guidance contained is correct.

Derbyshire audit services does not accept responsibility for any liabilities, losses or damages as a result of persons having relied upon the information provided. Any organisation should seek their own legal or professional advice where necessary in relation to any information contained in an alert.

Sales Practices

Audit Services recently received a complaint from a Derbyshire school about the sales practice of an existing Derbyshire County Council vendor. The company emailed the school offering access to online learning resources on a trial basis, claiming that the free trial had been agreed with a named member of staff during a telephone call, a claim refuted by the school. An invoice for the first year’s subscription was attached to the email which was only to be paid after the school was satisfied with the service and completion of the trial period.

Please remain vigilant regarding any unsolicited offers of free trials and remember that contact details and names of staff members are publicly available from the school’s website. Ensure that prior to making payments for any subscriptions or services that they are legitimate, required by the school and properly authorised. Do not make payments for subscriptions that are not required. One Derbyshire school has paid a subscription to this company for five years despite not using the services.

Telephone scam regarding internet service

A school in Derbyshire has reported receiving a telephone call during which an automated message advised that the internet service would be terminated within 24 hours because a virus has been detected at their IP address. The message advised the school to select option 1 to speak to BT or option 2 for any other reason. The call was terminated by the school and the number checked via the 1471 service – the number given was a local number with a legitimate area code.

Unfortunately, this is a well-known scam. Making a selection by pressing 1 or 2 will put the recipient of the call through to a fraudster posing as an employee of an internet service provider. The perpetrator will attempt to extract personal information from the recipient telling the person that this is needed to prevent the internet from being cut-off. Some fraudsters will use this information to commit fraud at a later date whilst others will encourage the victim to log on to their PC to check the internet is working with the intention of gaining remote access to the PC to extract further information including bank passwords etc.

If you receive a call with an automated message advising that your internet will be cut-off for whatever reason then terminate the call. Do not select any of the options suggested by the caller – simply hang up the telephone. Be aware that fraudsters are able to spoof telephone numbers to give the impression that the call is from a legitimate source.

Potentially fraudulent phone calls from Water Plus

It has been brought to the attention of Derbyshire Audit Services that Derbyshire schools and other organisations have received telephone calls claiming to be from Water Plus. Water Plus have confirmed that they have been targeted by the perpetrators and have reported the matter to the Police.

Although the caller knows some account details, they attempt to extract further information from account holders. The caller claims that there is an outstanding balance on the account and requests that payments are made over the phone using the School’s debit card. The phone number displayed is different to the telephone number which is detailed on Water Plus invoices.

Staff are reminded of the following advice when dealing with unsolicited phone calls requesting details and/or payments over the phone:

  • don’t give out any personal, financial or sensitive information over the phone to anyone unless you are absolutely certain that it is safe to do so
  • don’t feel pressured to disclose information
  • if you are concerned about the source of a call ask them to provide you with a switchboard number, which you should subsequently check, or call them back using an established contact number
  • remember the scheme of delegation for authorising invoices, ask the approver to check the request prior to making any payments. If you remain in doubt, seek further advice

Spam emails

We are aware of an increase in spam emails being received by schools since the beginning of April 2017. These include emails which sometimes appear to be from a Derbyshire County Council source such as SchoolSAP and tend to contain what looks like legitimate information about O2, Vodafone and UPS accounts.

The document attached to this page explains how to spot the emails and the action that should be taken to remove them.

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