Read some helpful advice provided by the Police of Cyber Crime.
More on Energy Rebate Scams
There are rising reports of scammers claiming you can get the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme by registering your bank details. The discount is automatic. If you get a message asking for your bank details, this is like;ly to be a scam. Find out more or what do if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam by visiting :-
Warning as criminals exploit cost of living crisis to target the public with energy rebate scams
Energy prices are set to increase on 1 October 2022 and in the last two weeks, more than 1,500 reports have been made to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) about scam emails purporting to be about energy rebates from Ofgem, the independent energy regulator for Great Britain.
In the two weeks from Monday 22nd August to Monday 5th August 2022, a total of 1,567 phishing emails related to this scam were reported via the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS).
Don't fall victim to this covid 'health department uk' text scamAs Covid cases rise, fraudsters are attempting to steal your details through scam tracing notification texts. Read the details from Which?.
5 big cost of living scams to watch out forBeware of scammers manipulating the cost of living crisis, Which? warns
- Fake cost of living payments and energy rebates
- Bank card refund scam
- Morrisons food giveaway
- Petrol gift cards
- Fake investments
Scammers cash in on the energy crisisWhich? Shorts podcast: scammers cash in on the energy crisis From fake energy bill refunds to phoney government grants, listen as we show how to spot and avoid these scams. Read more...
Phoney job adsScammers prey on jobseekers with fake job ads sent on WhatsApp and text messages Find out how to spot, avoid and report these employment scams. Read more...
Beware the cheap car insurance that's too good to be true
Scammers are working harder than ever to trick cash-strapped drivers - and social media companies are failing to contain the problem.
Fraudsters impersonate Dorset Council
With invoicing scam, Watch out for this fake email invoice phishing for your bank details
Spot the Signs of Holiday Fraud
As travel restrictions become more relaxed, Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, is warning the public to remain vigilant against holiday fraud when booking flights or accommodation online.
In the financial year 2021/22, Action Fraud received 4,244 reports of holiday and travel related fraud – a substantial increase of over 120% when compared to the previous financial year.
Victims reported losing a total of £7,388,353 – an average loss of £1,868 per victim.
Action Fraud has launched a national awareness campaign today (Monday 23 May 2022) to urge the public to think twice before handing over money and personal information when booking holidays.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
“As the world begins to open up and travel restrictions relax further, it’s no surprise that more people are eager to get away and kick back with their loved ones after two years of lockdowns and restrictions.
“Unfortunately, we know that as demand for holidays soar, so does the number of scams and criminals are always finding new ways to catch people out and make them part with their hard earned cash.
“When booking a holiday here or abroad, it’s so important to do your research before handing over any money or personal details. Trust your instincts and remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”
Fake Ofgem EMails.
Ticket to nowhere: don’t let ticket fraudsters take off with your cash
New data from Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, reveals that 4,982 people fell victim to ticket fraud in the 2021/22 financial year.
Action Fraud received 623 reports of ticket fraud in September last year – the highest number of reports received since March 2020, as most festivals and events operated as usual for the first time since pre-pandemic.
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish, from the City of London Police, said:
“Criminals took advantage of coronavirus restrictions being lifted last summer and targeted victims looking for tickets to high-profile sporting events and festivals.
“We have seen reports of ticket fraud rise further this year as well. Many festivals and events for the summer have already sold out, so don’t be deceived by offers on secondary ticketing websites or social media, as this is often where criminals will advertise fake tickets to popular and sold out events. Remember: if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
A Scam Alert from a Local Resident
Over £145,000 lost to e-scooter scam websites
Victims have reported buying e-scooters online only for the
e-scooter to not be delivered. By this point, they’re unable to
contact the company as the website they made the purchase from has
been closed down by its owners. Victims have reported losing over
£145,000 to this type of online shopping fraud.
Action Fraud has also received reports of individual sellers offering e-scooters via online marketplaces and social media platforms and failing to deliver them once payment has been made.
We would like to remind the public that whilst the sale of e-scooters is legal, private e-scooters cannot be used in public places or on public roads. They should only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission. Those who disregard the law could face fines, seizure of their e-scooter, and points on their driving licence.
Family members of online daters are being urged to help protect their relatives from becoming a victim of romance fraud, as new figures show almost £92 million has been lost through dating scams this year alone.
Daters who strike up online relationships between Christmas and Valentines Day tend to be the most susceptible to romance fraud, with a spike of 901 reports recorded by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) in March 2021.
Despite a peak of romance fraud reports and losses of £8.7 million reported in March, the financial spike came two months later in May 2021 where losses of a staggering £14.6 million were reported.
Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Bradford, from the City of London Police, said:
“Typically, romance fraudsters will spend weeks gaining their victims’ trust, feeding them fabricated stories about who they are and their lives - and initially make no suggestion of any desire to ask for any money, so the victim may believe their new love interest is genuine.
“But weeks, or sometimes months later, these criminals will ask for money for a variety of emotive reasons and as the emotional relationship has already been formed, victims often transfer money without a second thought.
“We’re calling on family members who think their relatives may be dating online to help make them aware of the warning signs that they could be falling victim to fraud, particularly if the person dating online is not particularly tech savvy .”
Criminals often use a range of stories to get victims to transfer them money without it raising suspicion. The stories are often believable, to a certain extent, and something that the victim would find hard to say no to, especially because of their emotional attachment.
Examples of stories include funding travel to visit the victim, money to pay for emergency medical expenses, lucrative investment opportunities and pretending to be military personnel or working overseas.
Could you recognise a cloned company scam? Criminals are copying real websites to steal savings.
Could you recognise a cloned company scam?
The National Economic Crime Centre is targeting boomers in the run up to Christmas after latest figures from Action Fraud show more than £36 million has been lost to investment fraud via cloned company scams this year.
Warnings on how to spot and report cloned company investment scams will be shared across the National Crime Agency’s social media channels, with those aged 55 to 70 in mind.
Data shows 34% of this age group were impacted by cloned company investment fraud in the first six months of this year, with average losses of £39,218 per victim.
Investment fraud by way of cloned websites has been on the rise in recent years, with Action Fraud reporting a total of £78 million lost last year – the year of the first coronavirus lockdown.
The crime is committed when fraudsters replicate or clone real company websites by using the name, address and ‘Firm Reference Number’ (FRN) attached to a company and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Once a fake website is up and running, fraudsters typically draw people in with adverts on search engine websites and social media.
The promise is usually of an attractive return on an investment, most commonly on bonds, cryptocurrency and ISAs.
Returns advertised are typically moderate, but just above the market rate, making the adverts appear genuine.
Losses with one particular scam, which used the guise of a popular comparison website, recently totalled £750,000.
Victims of this scam described how they had searched online for investment opportunities, and were presented with an online form, similar to forms typically found on genuine comparison websites.
Those who completed the forms were then contacted by a fraudster purporting to be from a known investment firm. They were able to persuade the victims to invest their savings in non-existent bonds, quoting legitimate company details and even using the identity of actual employees of the company.
The Fundraising Regulator, the Charity Commission for England and Wales, National Trading Standards and Action Fraud are joining forces to call on the public to give safely when donating online.
Data from Action Fraud reveals that £1.6m of the public’s money was lost to online charity fraud over the past year.
The fraud captured by this data includes asks for donations for non-existent charities and the fraudulent collection of funds from genuine charities. Action Fraud’s data shows that the £1.6m loss to fraud is up by 16% on the figure reported in the previous year.
The call for the public to give safely this Christmas is being co-ordinated by the Fundraising Regulator – the body which oversees charitable fundraising in the UK. It is encouraging the public to take steps to protect themselves online, particularly as the nation approaches the festive period, during which appeals for charitable donations increase.
The campaign is urging members of the public to conduct some simple checks before giving to charity, to make sure their donations reach the intended recipient. This includes:
- Check the charity name and its registration number on the Charity Commission website to find out whether the charity is legitimate.
- Use the Fundraising Regulator’s online Directory to find out whether a charity has registered with it and committed to excellent fundraising.
- Look out for the Fundraising Badge on charity marketing materials – when people see it, they can have confidence in charity’s fundraising.
- Ask questions about the cause – if people are still unsure about giving, they should always ask for more information. Legitimate causes will be happy to respond.
A convincing WhatsApp scam where criminals pose as a friend or family member in need has cost users almost £50,000 in three months.
New data from Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, reveals a new emerging threat where victims are being targeted on WhatsApp by criminals pretending to be someone they know.
The scam has been reported to Action Fraud 25 times between August and October 2021 and has cost users a total of £48,356.
Criminals will typically claim to be a family member and will usually begin the conversation with “Hello Mum” or “Hello Dad”. They will say that they are texting from a new mobile number as their phone was lost or damaged and will go on to ask for money to purchase a new phone, or claim that they need money urgently to pay a bill.
The criminal will supply their bank details for payment, with some coming back with further demands for money. Criminals are successful in their approach as they are exploiting the emotional vulnerability of the public in an attempt to deceive victims
Online shopping scams cost shoppers £15.4 million over the Christmas period last year.
New data from Action Fraud, the national reporting centre
for fraud and cyber crime, reveals that 28,049 shoppers were
conned out of their money when shopping online over the
Christmas period last year – an increase of almost two thirds (61
per cent) when compared to the same period in the previous year.
Ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Action Fraud is warning the public to take extra care when shopping online as reports of online shopping fraud have continued to surge. Here are some simple tips to help you and your family enjoy a secure online shopping experience this festive season.
Where to shop
Buying from an online store you haven’t used before? Carry out some research first, or ask a friend or family member if they’ve used the site and about their experiences before completing the purchase.
Only create an account if necessary or to save you effort if you’re going to use that site a lot in the future. Be cautious if the website asks you for details that are not required for your purchase, such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your primary school.
When it's time to pay for your items, check there's a 'closed padlock' icon in the browser's address bar. Use a credit card when shopping online, if you have one. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases.
Some of the messages you receive about amazing offers may contain links to fake websites. If you’re unsure about a link, don’t use the it – go separately to the website. Report suspicious emails you receive by forwarding them to: email@example.com. Report suspicious text messages by forwarding them to: 7726.
Make sure that your really important accounts (such as your email account or online shopping accounts) are protected by strong passwords that you don't use anywhere else.
Need help changing your email account password? You can use these links to find step by step instructions: Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook, BT, AOL Mail.
If things go wrong
If you've lost money to an online shopping scam, tell your bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland) . By doing this, you'll be helping to prevent others becoming victims of cyber crime.
For more of the government’s latest advice on how to stay secure online, visit the Cyber Aware website: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware
It could be you: Lottery fraud reports reach highest levels in two years
New data from Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, reveals almost £1 million has been lost to lottery fraud in the past seven months.
What is lottery fraud?
Criminals will contact unsuspecting victims informing them they have won a lottery or prize draw. The victim is then informed that they will need to pay an advance fee in order to receive their winnings. In reality, the winnings are non-existent and it is an attempt to steal the victims money, personal or financial information.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish, from the City of London Police, said:
“Criminals are experts at impersonating organisations and will mimic a number of well-known prize draws to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
“Remember, you can’t win a draw that you haven’t entered so if you’re contacted out of the blue claiming you’ve won a prize draw but can only access these winnings by paying an advance fee: stop and think as it’s likely to be a scam. This could protect you and your money.”
Between April and October 2021, Action Fraud received 629 reports of lottery fraud, with 89 per cent of reports mentioning well-known prize draws. Impersonation of People’s Postcode Lottery accounted for almost half (49 per cent) of all reports.
Almost three quarters of victims (70 per cent) were aged over 50, with those aged over 65 accounting for 40 per cent of reports.
Over half of the reports (59 per cent) mentioned being contacted via telephone. Other methods of contact reported by victims included email (21 per cent) and postal letter (10 per cent).
Almost have of victims (41 per cent) said they were asked to pay the advance fee to release the alleged winnings by purchasing gift cards and relaying codes to the fraudster.
Fraudsters use gift cards as a form of payment as they can be easily redeemed and sold on. These criminals also don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to share the serial code on the back of the card with them.
In other instances, victims reported being asked for personal and financial information in order to obtain their alleged winnings. Some victims reported providing their bank details thinking they would be sent a small payment to verify the account. In reality, criminals will use these details to steal the victims money.