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Woman issues warning about text scam that stole ‘every penny’ she had

Make sure you don’t fall for this

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@EmmelineHartley / Twitter

After a young woman was conned by a text scam that saw her lose ‘every penny’ she had, she took to social media to warn others.

Student and actor Emmeline Hartley went viral after sharing her experience, with others saying something similar had happened to them.

Emmeline received a text from some scammers pretending to be Royal Mail, which kicked off a chain of events that led the con artist’s to call her and pretend to be from Barclays, her bank.

She took to Twitter to warn others: “I mentioned yesterday that I’d been scammed out of every penny I had. Thought I’d post what happened in case it helps anyone avoid being in the same position.

“Please save the lectures, I don’t think it’s possible for me to feel any stupider”.

It all began when she received a text claiming to be Royal Mail saying they needed an additional £2.99 payment in order for her parcel to be delivered, and as her birthday was coming up she believed it was genuine.

To be sure it was legitimate, she even checked Royal Mail’s website, and decided it was safe to enter her bank details.

This is when things took a turn, and someone claiming to be from her back, Barclays, contacted Emmeline to say somebody had tried to set up direct debits from her account at Vodafone and Currys/PC World, as well as an attempt to spend £300 at Argos.

Emmeline added: “The next bit is going to sound stupid, but I was so embarrassed by my stupidity of falling for the Royal Mail scam, shocked and scared that somebody had been trying to use my card.”

She went on to explain that, because the man on the phone knew so many details about her, she believed it was actually her bank, and transferred all the money she had into a new ‘safe account’.

The scammer told Emmeline that because she’d used her bank details in the Royal Mail scam that her account was compromised, and that she needed to transfer her money out to protect it, while she waited for a new card.

To highlight how sophisticated the scam actually is, Emmeline checked the number she was being called from and it showed up as the same number as the Barclays fraud team.

It was only after the scammers told her to clear her overdraft that she began to realise something was off, as she didn’t actually have one on her account.

She said: “Despite knowing deep down that something wasn’t right, I tried to transfer the sum of money he told me to transfer. It didn’t work, confirming what I guess I already knew. I broke down in tears and he hung up.”

Cristiano Betta / Flickr

After calling the real Barclays, they explained that the scam she’d been tricked by is quite common at the moment.

She added: “After several hours [on the phone to my actual bank], they’d cancelled my cards, issued new ones and launched an investigation into my fraud claim. They said that this a very common scam known as the ‘safe account scam’.”

A spokesperson for Barclays told Cosmopolitan UK: “Following an investigation of this case, it is evident that our customer has been the unfortunate victim of a very sophisticated scam. We have provided the customer with a full refund of the amount that was lost.

“Fraudsters try to appear as legitimate as possible, so it’s important to be vigilant and stay alert to anything suspicious.

“No genuine bank would message you to transfer money to a ‘safe account’ – we advise any customers to ignore anyone who asks to do this, whether it’s by phone, email or any other method.”

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Calls for smoking to be banned in pub beer gardens and outdoor seating areas

However, an outdoor smoking ban in is not universally supported

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A recent study found that 1 in 5 ex-smokers think a ban on smoking in pub beer gardens and outdoor areas would help them quit the habit for good.

The Quitting Smoking for Mental Health study spoke to 1,000 current and ex-smokers from all around the country to find out what measures would be best for smoking cessation.

This was the response they got:

  • 26% wanted a ‘smoking ban in all public places, including hospitals, parks and bus stops’
  • 20% wanted a ‘ban on smoking on pub premises, including pub gardens and outdoor seating’
  •  19% wanted a ‘workplace ban on smoking on the premises and cigarette breaks’

According to smoking cessation charity ASH, the study – which was conducted by Vape Club – discovered that 43.9% of ex-smokers found their mental health had improved since they quit smoking.

It also found that the pandemic has been the driving force behind an ‘astonishing’ quit rate among young smokers, although some stressed concerns that pubs reopening may mean they relapse.



Stephanie Barnes, an ex-smoker, said: “It’s quite a tricky one I’d imagine as some outside pub spaces aren’t big enough to separate the garden but I think separate areas would be a good idea.

“Try and remember how far you’ve come – ie if you quit smoking for three months then what is making you want to start when in a pub? Remember how smoking made you feel, for me it was stomach pains and chesty and remember why you’re so much better without it”.

ASH are calling for the current ‘pop up’ pavement licences to be made 100% smokefree, as a way of helping smokers to ‘quit and stay quit’.

They also want to provide family-friendly spaces, as well as preventing any harm caused by second-hand smoke.


Jonathan James, owner of The Boathouse pub, said: “We see an increase in smoking when people drink alcohol. We are fortunate to have an extensive external space, with tables that are very well spaced and table service for safety with the pandemic.

“While we see no need to implement a no smoking policy as it would reduce trade, I can understand urban venues with limited outside access would have an issue.

“I can imagine that a blanket ban would make it easier for an ex-smoker, simply because they no longer have to tell themselves not to smoke. ‘You can’t smoke’ is much easier than ‘you can but best you don’t smoke’, especially after a few Mojitos!”

However, an outdoor smoking ban in pub beer gardens is not universally supported.

Andres Siimon on Unsplash

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said: “There is absolutely no justification for banning smoking outside pubs and thankfully there is very little support for it.

“If ex-smokers are so easily tempted to relapse that’s their problem not the publican’s.”

He added: “Demands to ban smoking outside are the last thing publicans need as they try to recover from lockdown.

“Ultimately it’s a matter for them, not government or anti-smoking campaigners, to choose a policy that best suits their business and attracts the largest number of customers.”

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Morrisons shoppers upset over ‘intimidating’ Union Jack packaging in the supermarket

Thoughts?

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@MarinaNigrelli / Twitter

Morrisons use of the Union Jack flag on British products has kicked off a debate online.

It was sparked when a shopper posted a picture of the Union Jack branding on the supermarket’s eggs and butter.

Pictures of the products were posted to Twitter, with the customer writing: “Just back from a trip to Morrisons. Is it just me, or have their butter and eggs always been this… patriotic?”

The post sparked a debate and divided opinion in the comments, with some saying they will boycott the items while others argued it was just marking them as being British products.

Rept0n1x / Wikimedia

Someone replied to the tweet to say: “Very upset by porridge I saw in Morrisons. This flagging everything is very unpleasant and quite intimidating.”

A second added: “Retaliate. I’m no longer buying anything packaged as such. Hurt them through their bank accounts.”

While another replied: “Won’t be buying eggs from Morrisons.”

Some people were confused as to why people were so offended by the Union flag being on British products.

One person said: “I can’t believe you all get triggered over the fact it’s showing we have British products in our stores. You should be proud that it’s cut down on air miles and transport costs and in turn is helpful for the environment. No, you’d rather moan about the national flag.”

A second asked: “They also have the French flag on Brie and Camembert cheeses and the Italian flag on a number of meats. Should we remove them as well? Or is it just because it is the British flag?”

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Handbag thief faceplants into ‘one way’ sign after stealing £760 Moschino bag in the city centre

That’s gotta hurt…

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Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

A man trying to make a swift getaway from police ended up getting more than he bargained for.

The suspect ended up with a sore head after smashing into a ‘one way’ sign after his concentration slipped.

The 33-year-old male was attempting to give Greater Manchester Police the slip after stealing a £760 Moschino bag in the city centre.

While he was making off from officers he looked behind him and ended up faceplanting straight into the sign.

He was subsequently arrested and taken into custody to recover from a ‘sore head’.

GMP took to Twitter and Facebook yesterday to share the news, saying that ‘all signs suggest he’ll make a full recovery’.

GMP City Centre wrote: “One way to custody… A 33yr old male stole a £760 Moschino hand bag. Whilst making off from officers, he looked behind him & then faceplanted straight into a One Way road sign.

“Male now in custody recovering from a sore head, all signs suggest he’ll make a full recovery!”

Ouch!

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