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Phone scam warning: EE network issues urgent message to users today | Science & Tech News

Millions of mobile phone users are being warned of potential text scams in the lead-up to Christmas, peaking today on what is being dubbed “Super Saturday”.

The BT-owned EE network has said cyber criminals could try to take advantage of the busy last-minute shopping period to issue delivery-style scams, suggesting parcels are waiting to be dropped off or their delivery has been missed.

The techniques could trick recipients into clicking links through which they may unwittingly install malware (malicious software), or be taken to a phishing page aimed at harvesting personal and financial data.

EE said it managed to block around three million SMS scams that were heading to customers’ phones on this day last year.

The company anticipates it will stop up to five million such scams this month. It also said it had blocked more than 45 million scam texts so far in 2023.

EE said in a statement: “The most common SMS scams in December are delivery-related, as shoppers rush to organise last-minute parcels in time for the holiday period.

“These include missed delivery or track delivery text scams, which prompt customers to click on links that give criminals the opening they need to steal consumers’ data or money.”

Phone scam. Pic: Alamy
Image:
Pic: Alamy

The firm is urging consumers to remain scam-aware, especially over the next couple of weeks, when the stress of holiday preparations could “cloud judgement and result in people dropping their guard”.

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Jonny Bunt, EE’s director of regulatory affairs for the consumer division of BT Group, said: “Super Saturday is set to be the busiest day of the year for high-street retailers.

“With deliveries piling up on the doorstep, scammers will be looking for ways to take advantage of the festive frenzy.

“As one of the UK’s first lines of defence against SMS scam texts, we have clear sight of the threat level here at BT and EE and are already seeing a concerning spike in delivery scams in particular.”

It has issued some tips on how to stay scam safe:

• Never click on a link in a text from an unknown source
• Trust your instincts, and if something looks suspicious, there’s probably a catch
• Keep your device software up to date
• Never give out bank details, passwords or security codes on a website you’ve linked to
• If your bank phones you, consider calling them back on a published number or using the 159 service
• If you get an expected call from someone, if in doubt put the phone down and call back on a number you trust
• If you receive a suspicious text, forward the phone number and incident to 7726, free of charge, for your mobile provider to investigate
• Once reported, block the number and notify others of the scam, so they can avoid falling victim.

Emergency and urgent care to be prioritised over routine appointments during junior doctors’ strike, NHS says | UK News

Emergency and urgent care will be prioritised over routine appointments and treatment during this week’s junior doctors’ strike, NHS England says.

The strike will begin early on Tuesday and run through until the early hours of Saturday, bringing “immense pressures” to staff and services, according to national medical director of NHS England Professor Sir Stephen Powis.

The health body said that appointments and operations will only be cancelled “where unavoidable”, following an estimate by the NHS Confederation that this could affect some 250,000 patients.

Professor Sir Stephen said: “The NHS has been preparing extensively for the next set of strikes but managing additional pressure doesn’t get easier as time goes by – it gets much more difficult, not only due to the sheer number of appointments that need to be rescheduled, but also that they can take time to rearrange with multiple teams involved.

“This is set to be the most disruptive industrial action in NHS history, and the strikes tomorrow will bring immense pressures, coming on the back of a challenged extended bank holiday weekend for staff and services.

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NHS braced as four-day strike looms

“Emergency, urgent and critical care will be prioritised but some patients will unfortunately have had their appointments postponed – if you haven’t, please do continue to come forward.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) wants the health secretary to negotiate to resolve 15 years of “pay erosion”, insisting that junior doctors have lost more than 25% of their pay in real terms.

The organisation has said the strikes could be avoided if the government makes a “credible” pay offer.

But the Department for Health and Social Care wants the strikes cancelled before it will enter into negotiations.

Read more:
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In an op-ed for The Sunday Telegraph, Health Secretary Steve Barclay described the BMA’s position as “unrealistic”, adding: “This demand is widely out of step with pay settlements in other parts of the public sector at a time of considerable economic pressure on our country.

“A salary hike of this size would see some junior doctors receiving more than an extra £20,000 a year,” he said.

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“I recognise their hard work and dedication.

“But it is deeply disappointing that this industrial action has been timed by the British Medical Association (BMA) junior doctors’ committee to cause maximum disruption to both patients and other NHS staff.”

Dr Mike Greenhalgh, deputy co-chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, told BBC One’s Breakfast show: “If he was to bring a credible offer to us, it could still, even at this late stage, avert action.”

Archie Battersbee: ‘No family should go through this’ – calls for urgent reform in light of 12-year-old’s death | UK News

“Urgent review and reform” is needed in light of Archie Battersbee’s death, a group that has been supporting his family has said.

The Christian Legal Centre has offered its condolences to the 12-year-old’s loved ones at this “tragic moment”.

Chief executive Andrea Williams said: “The events of the last few weeks raise many significant issues including questions of how death is defined, how those decisions are made and the place of the family.

“No one wants to see other families experience what they have been through.”

Archie had been at the centre of a lengthy legal dispute after he was seriously injured in an incident at his home in Southend, Essex, in April.

He had been in a coma since then and had not regained consciousness, being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments.

Earlier this year, his parents said that the youngster’s heart was still beating and that he had gripped his mother’s hand.

More on Archie Battersbee

But doctors treating the boy had declared Archie to be “brain stem dead”, and argued that the youngster should be disconnected from a ventilator.

This prompted a lengthy but unsuccessful fight in the courts to continue his life support treatment in the hope he would recover.

Archie’s family had later made bids to the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights to have him transferred to a hospice to die, but all legal routes were exhausted.

Read more:
How a mother fought to save her son

Archie is just the latest tragedy to be played out publicly in the courts

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A mother’s fight to save her son

‘We hope no family goes through this’

He was taken off medication at 10am on Saturday morning, and his mother Hollie Dance said he died at 12.15pm that afternoon.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Ella Rose Carter – the fiancée of Archie’s eldest brother Tom – said: “There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching a family member or a child suffocate.

“We hope no family has to go through what we have been through. It’s barbaric.”

The Christian Legal Centre has vowed to continue supporting Archie’s family, and said it was thankful for the widespread public support they had received.

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust – which oversaw Archie’s care – said in a statement: “Members of his family were present at [Archie’s] bedside and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences remain with them at this difficult time.

“The trust would like to thank the medical, nursing, and support staff in the paediatric intensive care department who looked after Archie following his awful accident.

“They provided high-quality care with extraordinary compassion over several months in often trying and distressing circumstances. This tragic case not only affected the family and his carers but touched the hearts of many across the country.”

Archie Battersbee. Pic: Hollie Dance
Image:
Archie Battersbee. Pic: Hollie Dance

The ‘golden thread’ running through the case

The family’s love for Archie was described by one judge as the “golden thread” running through the case.

Speaking to Sky News earlier this week, Ms Dance, said: “I don’t think there’s been a day that hasn’t been awful, really. It’s been really hard.

“Despite the hard, strong face and appearance, obviously, in front of the cameras, up until now, I’ve been pretty broken.”

She added: “I’ve done everything that I promised my little boy I’d do, and I’ve done it.”