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Scam and Cons

Be aware of scams and cons and know how to avoid them

 

Read some helpful advice provided by the Police of Cyber Crime.

 

July 2021

New warning from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the public to be vigilant of scam calls that appear to be coming from numbers similar to their own. Commonly, the first seven digits (07nnnnn) match the victim’s own number. The calls impersonate well-known government organisations, or law enforcement agencies, and will ask the recipient of the call to “press 1” in order to speak with an advisor, or police officer, about unpaid fines or police warrants.

In May 2021, Action Fraud received 2,110 scam call reports where the caller’s number matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own phone number. Of these, 1,426 (68%) referred to HMRC or National Insurance.

Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messaging, via widely-used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.

Protect yourself - What you need to do

  • Government and law enforcement agencies will not notify you about unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you. Do not respond to any calls or texts you receive about these.
  • Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or your personal information, it could prevent you from falling victim to fraud. Remember, it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726. It’s free of charge.
  • Suspicious telephone/mobile calls can be reported to Action Fraud via their website.

 

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June 2021

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Beware of Ticket Fraud

Action Fraud is warning the public to take extra care when buying tickets for festivals and events online, as figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime reveal almost £1 million has been lost to ticket fraud so far this year.

Data from Action Fraud reveals that 1,085 reports of ticket fraud have been made so far this year, equating to an average loss of £850 per victim. Almost two thirds of victims (61 per cent) were aged between 20 to 49 years old.

Action Fraud received 374 reports of ticket fraud in March this year – the highest number of reports received since March 2020 when lockdown restrictions were first implemented. Victims reported losing over £200,000 in March this year alone.

Read More ...

 

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Census 2021 Phishing

t’s been a few months since the deadline for the 2021 census in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but scammers are still trying their luck with fake texts threatening fines for not completing your survey properly.

Scammers are continuing to tell people that their Census submission either hasn’t been received or that information is missing, and because of this you risk being fined £1,000.

It’s suggested you can prevent being fined by clicking on a link included in the messages, but it will only take you to a fake website designed to steal your personal details. Any information you inadvertently hand over could then be used to target you with more sophisticated scams in the future.

 

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Is your Bank protecting you from Number Proofing Scams?

Any phone number advertised to customers is also advertised to scammers, making them vulnerable to spoofing. Banks can protect their outbound numbers so that scammers can’t copy them, but not all have done so, Which? Money reveals. Number spoofing is a valuable tool for scammers: by manipulating caller ID to show a number that matches the one on the back of your debit card, for example, they stand a much better chance of convincing you to part with your life savings. To help tackle this, Ofcom has worked with the banking industry body UK Finance to identify a list of ‘do not originate’ (DNO) numbers – in short, those that are never used for outbound calls. But not every bank is making use of this scheme, making life far too easy for scammers.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/06/is-your-bank-protecting-you-from-number-spoofing-scams/ - Whic
Any phone number advertised to customers is also advertised to scammers, making them vulnerable to spoofing. Banks can protect their outbound numbers so that scammers can’t copy them, but not all have done so, Which? Money reveals. Number spoofing is a valuable tool for scammers: by manipulating caller ID to show a number that matches the one on the back of your debit card, for example, they stand a much better chance of convincing you to part with your life savings. To help tackle this, Ofcom has worked with the banking industry body UK Finance to identify a list of ‘do not originate’ (DNO) numbers – in short, those that are never used for outbound calls. But not every bank is making use of this scheme, making life far too easy for scammers.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/06/is-your-bank-protecting-you-from-number-spoofing-scams/ - Whic

Any phone number advertised to customers is also advertised to scammers, making them vulnerable to spoofing. Banks can protect their outbound numbers so that scammers can’t copy them, but not all have done so. Number spoofing is a valuable tool for scammers: by manipulating caller ID to show a number that matches the one on the back of your debit card, for example, they stand a much better chance of convincing you to part with your life savings.

To help tackle this, Ofcom has worked with the banking industry body UK Finance to identify a list of ‘do not originate’ (DNO) numbers – in short, those that are never used for outbound calls. But not every bank is making use of this scheme, making life far too easy for scammers.

 

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Scams warning for tax credits customers

Tax credits customers should be vigilant and alert to potential scams, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has warned, as the remaining annual renewal packs will arrive in the post this week.

 

In the 12 months to 30 April 2021, HMRC responded to more than 1,154,300 referrals of suspicious contact from the public. More than 576,960 of these offered bogus tax rebates.

In the same period, HMRC has worked with telecoms companies and Ofcom to remove more than 3,000 malicious telephone numbers and with internet service providers to take down over 15,700 malicious web pages. HMRC responded to 443,033 reports of phone scams in total, 135% up on the previous year.

Anyone doing their tax credits renewal who has received a tax or benefits scam email or text might be tricked into thinking it was from HMRC and share their personal details with the criminals or even transfer money for a bogus overpayment.

Read More ....

 

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May 2021

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New figures reveal victims lost over £63m to investment fraud scams on social media

Over £63m was lost nationally by victims of investment fraud who referred to a social media platform in their report to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime. Some victims mentioned being approached directly by an investment fraudster, whilst others said they were attracted to a fake investment through adverts.

Read More ...

 

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April 2021

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Holidaymakers and festivalgoers urged to be vigilant from scams as lockdown restrictions ease

Fraudsters are poised to target the British public with ticketing, travel and health insurance scams as consumers look to book in much-needed social activities as lockdown restrictions ease, warns UK Finance. The scam alert comes as the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign publishes guidance below on how consumers can protect themselves in the lead-up to further easing of lockdown restrictions from 17 May.  

With many people booking holidays and tickets to concerts and summer festivals, criminals are staying one step ahead by advertising holidays and tickets at low prices or for sold out events, illegally profiting from consumers who are looking for good deals or wanting to attend fully booked events. In some instances, scammers are charging people for the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which is available free of charge, or advertising fake ‘vaccine certificates’ online.   

Experts at impersonating trusted organisations such as travel agencies and hospitality firms, these fraudsters are using a range of sophisticated methods to approach their victims, including scam emails, telephone calls, fake websites and posts on social media. To stay safe when booking holidays and tickets, people are reminded to always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and take a moment to stop and think before parting with their money or information in case it’s a scam.  

Read More ...

 

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Text Message Scam Alert

A text-message scam that infects Android phones is spreading across the UK, experts have warned.

The message - which pretends to be from a package delivery firm, prompts users to install a tracking app - but is actually a malicious piece of spyware.

Called Flubot, it can take over devices and spy on phones to gather sensitive data, including online banking details.

Network operator Vodafone said millions of the text messages were already being sent, across all networks.

"We believe this current wave of Flubot malware SMS attacks will gain serious traction very quickly, and it's something that needs awareness to stop the spread," a spokesman said.

Customers should "be especially vigilant with this particular piece of malware", he said, and be very careful about clicking on any links in a text message.

 

The National Cyber Security Centre has issued FluBot: Guidance for ‘package delivery’ text message scam  - what to do if you have been scammed.

 

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National Insurance number ‘compromised’ cold call 

An official sounding voice usually claiming to be from the National Crime Agency or National Office for Serious Crimes has been cold calling unsuspecting members of the public, asking them to call back urgently. It may state that your National Insurance number has been compromised, but it’s an attempt to get you to hand over your personal details.

You may receive it in the form of a pre-recorded message or phone call that sounds threatening, so please do ignore it. Here’s how fraudsters may pressure you into giving up your details and how you can protect yourself.

Read More ...

 

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Warning from Action Fraud to ProtectYourPension as £1.8 million lost to pension fraud so far this year.

Data from Action Fraud shows a steady fall in pension scam reports from 1,788 in 2014 to 358 in 2020 – a reduction of almost 80 per cent.

However, there has been an increase in reporting so far this year, with 107 reports of pension fraud received in the first three months of 2021. This is an increase of almost 45 per cent when compared to the same period in 2020.

Action Fraud have launched a national awareness campaign (Tuesday 20 April 2021) to remind the public about the importance of doing your research before making changes to your pension arrangements.

Read More ...

 

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We are aware of a number of reports locally of a Telephone Call purporting to be The Telephone Preference Service.

There is a current scam where criminals cold call people pretending to be from the Telephone Preference Service and ask you for money or personal details. The TPS is always free and they will never contact you requesting payments or credit card details.

Read More this scam and about the Telephone Preference Service designed to help stop those annoying cold calls ....

 

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An email purporting to be from Dyson is promising ‘prizes’ as part of a fake loyalty program. Dyson has confirmed it has nothing to do with the communication

A member of the public became suspicious when they received an email supposedly from ‘Dyson V10’ congratulating on them on their selection to ‘participate in our loyalty program!’, despite not owning any Dyson products.

Despite the email showing as having been sent from ‘contact@dyson.com’, the recipient reported it to Which?’s scam alert service.

 

Read More ...

 

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Trading Standards Telephone Scam

Hampshire Trading Standards Service have recently been made aware of an incident whereby a telephone cold caller falsely stated they were from the ‘Trading Standards Service Accounts Department in London’.

The caller claimed the resident was due an award of £4,900 owed to them for overpayments and charges from NatWest. To process the claim, the resident was asked for £250 or, if they preferred, they could go to the local City Council but would need to pay £450 for the same service.
The resident was given a contact name, reference number and telephone number to call to make the payment. Thankfully, the resident knew there was no such department as ‘Trading Standards Service Accounts’ and had spotted the signs of a scam. They did not pay any money and reported the call.

Remember:
• Trading Standards will never ask for money.
• Take 5 minutes to think about any cold calls, never act immediately and get help from a family member or friend before making any decisions.
• It is possible for scammers to keep telephone lines open, meaning the resident may dial out and think they are making their own checks, but may be speaking with the scammer.
• Wait at least 20 minutes before making any calls, or use a different phone to ensure the telephone line is clear. Alternatively, call a trusted friend whose voice you recognise to make sure the line is clear.
• Do not rely on dial codes as proof of a caller’s location, it is possible to spoof telephone numbers.
• If payment has been made, or card details given, contact your bank or building society immediately.


For further advice or to report fraud / scams to Trading Standards, please contact our partners at Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133

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March 2021

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216 fell victim to Ticket Fraud in February - £270,000 lost

As a result of the high demand for tickets, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) are warning buyers to take extra care when buying tickets online. We are urging people to be wary of fraudsters selling fake or non-existent tickets to events. NFIB have already started seeing reports of non-existent tickets being advertised for sale online, some at inflated prices. 

In February 2021, Action Fraud received 216 reports of ticket fraud. This is an 62% increase on the previous month and the highest number of reports received since March 2020 when lockdown restrictions were first implemented. Victims reported losing £272,300 in February 2021 – an average loss of just over £1,260 per victim.

It is anticipated that increased demand for tickets following lockdown restrictions will lead to greater numbers of victims and higher losses as a result.

Spot the signs of ticket fraud and protect yourself:

  • Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket site.
  • Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal offer greater protection against fraud.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Is the vendor a member of STAR? If they are, the company has signed up to their strict governing standards. STAR also offers an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service to help customers with outstanding complaints. For more information: star.org.uk/buy_safe

Every report matters. If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040. 

 

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National Insurance scam leads to surge in calls to Action Fraud

Victims have reported receiving an automated telephone call telling them their “National Insurance number has been compromised” and in order to fix this and get a new number, the victim needs to “press 1 on their handset to be connected to the caller”.

Once connected to the “caller”, victims are pressured into giving over their personal details in order to receive a new National Insurance number. In reality, they’ve been connected to a criminal who can now use their personal details to commit fraud.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“We are asking the public to remain vigilant and be cautious of any automated calls they receive mentioning their National Insurance number becoming compromised.

“It’s important to remember if you’re contacted out the blue by someone asking for your personal or financial details, this could be a scam.

“Even confirming personal details, such as your email address, date of birth or mother’s maiden name, can be used by criminals to commit fraud. If you have any doubts about what is being asked of you, hang up the phone. No legitimate organisation will rush or pressure you.”

How to protect yourself

If you receive an unexpected phone call, text message or email that asks for your personal or financial details, remember to:

STOP

Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

CHALLENGE

Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT

If you have provided personal details to someone over the phone and you now believe this to be a scam, contact your bank, building society and credit card company immediately and report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

You can also contact CIFAS to apply for protective registration. This means extra checks will be carried out when a financial service, such as a loan, is applied for using your address and personal details, to verify its you and not a fraudster.

 

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First time victims of fraud go on to lose £373 million

Read more about this issue from Action Fraud.

 

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Census Scams

Hampshire Trading Standards would like to remind residents that The Office for National Statistics Census Day is Sunday 21st March 2021. This survey gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The information you give helps decide how services are planned and funded in your local area.

The census must be completed by law with accurate information. 

All households have been receiving a letter giving details of how to complete the census.

From Monday 22nd March 2021, Census officers will be following up non responders and helping residents with queries by knocking on their doors.

All Census officers will be carrying official identification cards with a photograph and the officer’s name.

Be sure who is at your door.  All Census officers will carry a critical workers letter containing a telephone number. Any resident can ask to see this letter and use the number if they are unsure that the caller is genuine.

Census officers will NEVER

  • Ask for money, or request the resident to withdraw cash
  • Ask for bank details at any point during their conversations with residents
  • Ask to enter the resident’s home  

 Covid-19 Precautions

Census officers are classed as key workers and will be working within the law. Officers will wear personal protective equipment, socially distance and not enter residents’ homes.

More information is available at www.census.gov.uk or by calling 0800 141 2021.

 

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Money mule recruiters use fake Online job adverts to target ‘Generation Covid’

  • Money mule recruiters are targeting those looking for work or to earn easy money during the pandemic, by posting fake adverts on jobs websites and social media.
  • Figures reveal there were over 17,000 suspected money mule cases involving 21-30 year olds in 2020, up five per cent on the previous year.
  • The public is being urged to be wary of any offers of earning quick and easy cash online. Money muling could lead to a criminal record, the closure of your bank account and difficulty getting a mobile phone contract.

Cash laundered by money mules is used by criminals to facilitate serious crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking and people smuggling.

Young people whose job prospects have been impacted by the pandemic are being targeted online by criminals looking to recruit money mules to launder the profits of their crimes, UK Finance and Cifas have warned.

The latest research from Cifas has revealed there were 17,157 cases of suspected money muling activity involving 21-30 year olds in 2020, a five per cent increase on the previous year.

This age group accounted for 42 per cent of money mule activity in 2020, up from 38 per cent three years ago. It was among the hardest hit by the economic impact of Covid-19, with thousands facing job losses as a result of the pandemic and graduates entering the jobs market at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

Read More ...

 

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A fraudster who groomed women on dating sites to scam thousands of pounds from them was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court last week on Friday 26 February.

Sebastian Timmis, of Hill View in Marksbury, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud by false representation in relation to offences committed between January 2018 and September 2020.

The 29-year-old used dating apps and websites to establish the trust of his victims before claiming to them he needed money urgently.

Timmis would pressurise his victims into transferring money to him, promising he would pay them back. He would make up time-critical scenarios that he needed cash for – including car repairs, utility bills or to pay for food – and never gave the money back. He instead used the money for gambling.

In total, Timmis defrauded 10 women out of more than £48,000. His victims included women from Bristol, Cheddar, Devizes, Bournemouth, Malvern, Cardiff, Birmingham and Cheltenham.

He was jailed for three years and four months.

PC Rory Everitt said: “Timmis scammed these women out of thousands of pounds and made promises he knew he could not keep about returning their money.

“He clearly had no regard for his victims’ feelings and targeted people he knew were caring. He preyed on their generosity.”

Last year, Avon and Somerset Police supported Action Fraud’s campaign to raise awareness of romance fraud, providing advice on how to prevent falling victim to scams through dating sites.

Between August 2019 and August 2020, Action Fraud received 198 romance fraud reports worth £2.4million from people in Avon and Somerset.

PC Everitt said: “Timmis’ scams were typical of romance fraud cases involving dating sites, where demands for cash are made from the victims, who feel pressurised to provide money for people they believe they can trust. Victims get told they need to provide the money quickly for urgent reasons, which often will be emotive and pull at heartstrings.

“We would urge anyone in that situation not to hand over money or personal details and to talk it through with family or friends if you feel under pressure. If the person you’ve met through the website genuinely cares for you as they claim, they will not object to you being cautious.

“And if you feel someone is trying to scam you, please report it to the police or Action Fraud – you could save yourself and others from falling victims to predatory fraudsters.”

 

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Action Fraud warning as holiday bookings surge after lockdown exit plans announced

The national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime and ABTA, The Travel Association, are reminding the public to think twice before handing over their money and personal information when booking holidays this year. In previous years, criminals have targeted unsuspecting holidaymakers booking airline tickets, holiday accommodation and religious pilgrimages.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“We are all more eager than ever to go on a holiday and relax with family and friends after the year we’ve all had. However, the surge in holiday bookings provides criminals with an opportunity to defraud innocent people out of a well-deserved break and their hard-earned cash.

“Criminals are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, which is why it’s important that we all do our research when booking a holiday and making travel arrangements. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

What is holiday fraud?

Holiday fraud can vary from fake accommodation listings advertising hotels, and self-catering properties that simply don’t exist, to “too good to be true” offers with flights being particularly targeted. Criminals can approach you over the phone, via text, email and social media, offering incredibly cheap deals to tempt you into booking a holiday with them. In reality, the holiday you’ve booked, or parts of it, doesn’t exist at all.

Graeme Buck, ABTA Director of Communications, said:

“As travel restrictions begin to lift millions of us will be looking to book holidays both at home and overseas, which may place pressure on both availability and prices. Fraudsters will take advantage of the fact that customers will be looking for good deals and they use increasingly sophisticated methods to target destinations and times of year when demand is high and availability limited.

“Victims often find out just before they travel or even while on holiday that they have been defrauded, it can then be very difficult and expensive to obtain a legitimate replacement booking. City of London Police, Get Safe Online and ABTA have put together a list of tips to help customers recognise the warning signs of potential fraud which will help customers avoid both potentially significant financial loss and severe disappointment, at a time when getting away on holiday is more important than ever.”

Tops tip to avoid falling victim to holiday fraud

  • Stay safe online: check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org.
  • Do your research: don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible. If a company is defrauding people, there is a good chance that consumers will post details of their experiences, and warnings about the company.
  • Look for the logo: check whether the company is an ABTA Member. Look for the ABTA logo on the company's website. If you have any doubts, you can verify membership of ABTA online on their If you're booking a flight and want more information about ATOL protection, or would like to check whether a company is an ATOL holder, visit the CAA website.
  • Pay safe: wherever possible, pay by credit card and be wary about paying directly into a private individual’s bank account.
  • Check the paperwork: you should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all. When booking through a Holiday Club or Timeshare, get the contract thoroughly vetted by a solicitor before signing up.
  • Use your instincts: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Get free expert advice: for further advice on how to stay safe when booking or researching travel online, go to Get Safe Online.

For a full list of tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, please visit https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/planning-and-booking-a-holiday/how-avoid-travel-related-fraud.

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

 

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February 2021

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February 2021

Have you heard of Courier Fraud

We want to alert residents to a scam where someone pretending to be a police officer calls your home and tells you your account is subject to fraud. They say that you must withdraw money immediately and move it to protect it from being stolen from your account. They then send someone to your house to collect the cash in person.
 
Alternatively, they may ask you to transfer your money to another account that they will give you the details for.
 
Sadly, this happens all over the country. But yesterday, 17 February, two elderly people living in Hampshire, were targeted.
 
An 83-year-old woman and an 86-year-old man were both phoned and told their accounts were subject to fraud. The fraudsters said they had been working with their bank and asked them to transfer money.
 
Luckily, neither victim parted with any money and reported the calls to police.
 
The scammers often say they are from a police station in London, that they are working undercover and that there is fraudulent activity on your account, when in fact it is them scamming you.
 
They ask for your help to stop it from happening, and are very convincing. They may even tell you that your bank is involved, or know your full name and address.
 
In the Monxton incidents, one of the victims was told they would be arrested for interfering with the investigation when they refused to transfer their money.
 
We want to remind you that a police officer would never call you and ask you for your money. No one, not even someone from your bank, would call and ask for your financial details or ask you to withdraw cash.
 
Look out for elderly relatives and friends, and remember:
 
• Police officers will never call people in this way and ask you to withdraw money or disclose personal or financial information. If someone does do this, please hang up – it will be a scam.
• Consider contacting your telephone provider to get a free call-blocking service if you are getting unsolicited calls. 
• If you are a friend, relative or carer of someone you think might be vulnerable to this type of scam, please speak to them about this advice. You might be the only person who can stop them from being scammed. 
 
If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it to us by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, dial 999. 
 
You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself by visiting the Action Fraud website https:/www.actionfraud.police.uk/) or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.

 

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Bitcoin related Scams

We’re warning the public to be vigilant of unsolicited emails promoting cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) investment opportunities. We’ve received over 750 reports this week about Bitcoin-related phishing emails that use fake celebrity endorsements to try and lure victims into investment scams. The links in the emails lead to fraudulent websites that are designed to steal your money, as well as personal and financial information.
How you can protect yourself:

  • Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into making a transaction on the spot.
  • Seek advice first: Speak with a trusted friend or family members, and seek independent professional advice before making significant financial decisions.

  • FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money.

For more information about how to invest safely, please visit: https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart

Report suspicious emails: If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, you can report it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service by forwarding the email to - report@phishing.gov.uk

 

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Romance Fraudster? - There's No Love Lost

New data from UK Finance reveals a 20 per cent increase in bank transfer romance fraud between January - November 2020 compared to the previous year, with the total value of these scams rising by 12 per cent to £18.5 million. The average loss per victim reported to UK Finance members was £7,850, highlighting the significant impact this type of fraud can have on victims’ finances.

But criminals can trick victims into sending them money in many ways, not just via a bank transfer. Action Fraud has also seen a rise in reports made by members of the public who have fallen victim to romance fraud in 2020, with total reported losses equating to over £68 million. In these reports, victims have lost money via bank transfer, money transfer, sending fraudsters gift cards and vouchers or presents such as phones and laptops, and providing them with access to their bank account or card.

Romance scams involve people being duped into sending money to criminals who go to great lengths to gain their trust and convince them that they are in a genuine relationship. They use language to manipulate, persuade and exploit so that requests for money do not raise alarm bells. These requests might be highly emotive, such as criminals claiming they need money for emergency medical care, or to pay for transport costs to visit the victim if they are overseas.

Read More ...

 

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January 2021

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Attack of the clone firms: over £78 million stolen in 'clone' firm investment scams

  • Number of ‘clone firm’ investment scams reported increased by 29% as UK went into first lockdown
  • Victims scammed out of more than £45,000 each, on average
  • 77% of investors do not know or are unsure what a ‘clone investment firm’ is
  • FCA and Action Fraud advise investors to only use contact details on the FCA Register to help avoid ‘clone firm’ scams

Action Fraud and the City of London Police are working with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to issue a warning to the public, as reports of ‘clone firm’ investment scams increased by 29 percent1 in April 2020 compared to March, when the UK went into its first lockdown.

Action Fraud reporting data reveals losses of more than £78 million1 between January-December 2020, with victims losing £45,2421 each on average, when investing with fraudsters imitating genuine investment firms.

Read More

 

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Criminals continue to take advantage of coronavirus vaccine roll-out as phishing email reports soar

The email, which attempts to trick people into handing over their bank details, was reported more than 1,000 times in 24 hours. It appears to come from the NHS and asks the recipient to click on a link to accept or decline an invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If they click accept, they are asked to input personal information and their bank card details.

The national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime has previously warned about coronavirus vaccine scams, with many people reporting receiving fake text messages purporting to be from the NHS.

Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, is warning the public to remain vigilant as fraudsters continue to act:

“It’s despicable that fraudsters will take advantage of such an important tool in the fight against this evil and deadly disease. Not only are the people being targeted with this email at risk of losing money, or having their identity stolen, but they are also at risk of not receiving the real vaccine.

“The public have been fantastic at reporting these scams to us and raising awareness in their local community as well. But unfortunately, as this latest phishing campaign shows, we still have to remain cautious and alert. Remember: anything purporting to be from the NHS asking you to pay for the vaccine, or provide your bank account or card details, is a scam.”

How to protect yourself

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

The NHS will never:

  • ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips. 

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

 

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National Insurance Scam

Victims have reported receiving an automated telephone call telling them their “National Insurance number has been compromised” and in order to fix this and get a new number, the victim needs to “press 1 on their handset to be connected to the caller”.

Once connected to the “caller”, victims are pressured into giving over their personal details in order to receive a new National Insurance number. In reality, they’ve been connected to a criminal who can now use their personal details to commit fraud.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“We are asking the public to remain vigilant and be cautious of any automated calls they receive mentioning their National Insurance number becoming compromised.

“It’s important to remember if you’re contacted out the blue by someone asking for your personal or financial details, this could be a scam.

“Even confirming personal details, such as your email address, date of birth or mother’s maiden name, can be used by criminals to commit fraud. If you have any doubts about what is being asked of you, hang up the phone. No legitimate organisation will rush or pressure you.”

How to protect yourself

If you receive an unexpected phone call, text message or email that asks for your personal or financial details, remember to:

STOP

Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

CHALLENGE

Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT

If you have provided personal details to someone over the phone and you now believe this to be a scam, contact your bank, building society and credit card company immediately and report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

You can also contact CIFAS to apply for protective registration. This means extra checks will be carried out when a financial service, such as a loan, is applied for using your address and personal details, to verify its you and not a fraudster.

 

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COVID Vaccinations Scams further Alert from Action Fraud.

As of 7 January 2021, Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, had received hundreds of reports in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
“The vaccine is a crucial tool in fighting the coronavirus and keeping people safe. Thankfully, the number of reports into Action Fraud are relatively low but we have seen an increase in the last two months, particularly around scam text messages. 

“Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”

Action Fraud has received reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.

How to protect yourself:

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

- The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.

- The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.

- The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.

- The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.  

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

 

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COVID vaccination scam alert

There have been reports of a new scam where a person receives a text saying they need to book a vaccination appointment and it takes them to a fake NHS form which then asks for their bank details to prove their identity.  The NHS will never ask for a person’s banking information so please do not provide as it will be a scam.

 

 

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