TWO Hampshire MPs have held a fraud and scams forum to advise residents on how not to become a victim of criminals.

Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond and East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds were joined at Clanfield Memorial Hall, in South Lane, by a panel of experts for the event.

Experts on the panel included cybercrime specialists and banks. Local people heard that 52 per cent of national crime is fraud but it is believed 90 per cent of frauds and scams go unreported.

They were encouraged to report offences to help the police to build profiles and tackle the individuals behind the crimes.

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Tips from the event were if you find someone is using your credit or debit card fraudulently, as well reporting to your bank, report to Action Fraud as it works to see if they can connect transactions.

Hampshire Chronicle: Flick Drummond and Damian Hinds with experts at the forumFlick Drummond and Damian Hinds with experts at the forum (Image: Flick Drummond MP)

Other advice included: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are being put under pressure to make a decision, it is likely a scam. Banks will never call you and ask for your PIN or about closing and transferring your money to another account.

There is also a generic number 159 that will put you through to nearly all banks to check with them and report anything suspicious.

Mrs Drummond said: “Thank you to all the experts who took the time to join myself and Damian at the event. It is important we can inform and reassure people about how they can stop becoming victims of fraud and the handy tips were a big help as well as the 159 number that I always publicise because it is such an easy way to get hold of a back and to remember.

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“Online scams remain a challenge and criminals continue to adapt. But it was reassuring to hear these types of offences are going down thanks to the work of the banks, police and experts.”

Mr Hinds added: “There is evidence that the fight back against the fraudsters is working - the most recent crime survey shows another decrease in fraud year on year. But this is still a high-volume crime and there is more to do.  Law enforcement, industry and the banks are taking steps to protect us from fraudsters, and the Stop! Think Fraud campaign is a timely reminder of the steps we can all take to stay safe online.

“I'm grateful to Flick Drummond for organising the community fraud and scams event, to all who presented, and all who came."