People living in the Horncastle area are being warned to be on their guard against the ever-increasing threat of cyber crime.
The message comes from PCSO Nigel Wass, a member of the town’s Community Policing Team.
PCSO Wass told the News that the number of complaints about scams - and notably emails - had increased dramatically in recent months.
And he advised people not to give out any information about bank accounts or passwords, no matter how plausible requests might appear to be.
PCSO Wass was speaking after the successful launch of a new community police initiative in Horncastle.
The scheme, called ‘Community Policing Matters’, is designed to enable members of the public to report concerns in less formal locations than police stations.
PCSO Wass said: “The first event was held in the Market Place and it was very successful.
“A lot of people came forward and it led to some good information.
“What is obvious is that more and more people are becoming concerned about internet scams.
“I think people look at Horncastle and think it is a rural market town and that scams don’t happen as much.
“Clearly, that’s not the case. People are being targeted and we get more reports about scamming than anything else.
“In the vast majority of the cases, the communications they receive are very professional.
“Our advice would be never give out information, especially regarding passwords or details of bank accounts.
“Banks would never ask for this information in emails or over the telephone.”
PCSO Wass said ‘scammers’ were increasingly sophisticated and often had information about their intended targets, like full names and addresses.
And he warned it wasn’t just elderly people who were at risk.
“The emails and phone calls look and sound very official. They are very plausible.
“It’s a scam. All they are after is access to your bank account - and your money.”
PCSO Wass stressed Lincolnshire Police are working with other agencies - including Trading Standards - to highlight the problem.
He also showed the News a copy of a letter that has been sent to a number of addresses in Horncastle.
It supposedly comes from a bank in Canada and asks people for details of their account - so they can receive a payment from a customer of the banks who recently died. PCSO Wass added: “People will say ‘it will never happen to me’ but it is so easy to let your guard slip.”