Forest Town & District

Scam alerts

Two recent scams landing in my mailbox, one from Government Gateway claiming my direct debit payment for my road tax had been cancelled by my bank and my car was no longer taxed, I don't have a direct debit for my road tax but if you do check with your bank first before clicking on any link, the heading of the email also included a private hotmail email address and hovering my cursor over the 'Tax now at' link showed that the message had come from a .me domain which is allocated to Montenegro.

The second one claimed to be from Microsoft softT
"This is to inform you starting from 31th of May 2021, We're Updating Our Terms your email messages and pdf attachments won't be delivered to the intended recipients. due to your email being outdated. follow below to verify and update your email".

MicrosoftT ?? and 31th ??
hovering my cursor over the 'login verification' link showed a URL that had nothing to do with Microsoft.


Pensions Scams

If you have already signed something you’re now unsure about, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and contact uour Scheme administrator immediately. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn’t taken place yet.

Be wary of cold calls and unsolicited texts or emails. Scammers will often claim they’re from Pension Wise or other Government departments. These organisations would never phone or text to offer a pension review.

Don’t be rushed into a decision. Scammers will try to pressure you with ‘time limited offers’ or send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents. Take your time to make all the checks you need, even if this means turning down an amazing deal.

Don’t fall for ‘guaranteed’ returns. You can never guarantee returns on an investment.

Scammers may pose as financial advisers, check yours is registered in the FCAregister.
You can check the FCA’s list of known scams here: FCAscamsmart

If you have doubts ask The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) to help you, you can call them on 0300 123 1047 or visit the TPAS-website.
TPAS also have a useful tool you can use to help you identify a scam, this can be found on the TPAS website.


Royal Mail scam - I recently received this email:

Ticket no: 2855395 Parcel no: 387012229081076

We had a unsuccessful delivery to your address, no one was found at the address or there was no safe place to leave the package.
First delivery was paid by the sender and if you want us to make a new delivery a small fee is necessary.
The process is very simple, please assure you give the correct address and phone number.

Please make a new delivery!
MyRoyal Online

Royal Mail website has several warnings of current scams, this is one of them.


Nottinghamshire County Council - Consumer advice and scan alerts


Microsoft email update - Is this a scam?
Short answer: Yes - it's nothing more then a phishing email looking to get the credentials to your account.
Microsoft will never send out an email telling you it is going to shutdown your account and by what date it would happen.


Royal Mail text message scam
Hackers are infecting Android phones by sending text messages that claim Royal Mail tried but failed to deliver a package to your house.
The message tells you to click a link to download what looks like Royal Mail’s app, but it actually installs the FakeSpy malware on your phone.
This shows two messages — one asking for permission to intercept and read every SMS text message you receive, and the other to ignore battery optimisation features, allowing it to work while the screen is off and the phone locked. It appears to be legitimate because it sends you to the official Royal Mail website.
Once you’ve given these permissions, it steals data from your device, including messages, phone numbers, and details from banking apps. It also sends itself to devices owned by people on your contacts list

Royal Mail will only contact you when a business has paid it to deliver items through Royal Mail Tracked or Royal Mail Special Delivery, or when a member of the public sends a trackable item using ‘Click 8: Drop’.
If the postman fails to deliver a package to you he will pop a card, giving the reason, through your letterbox, but not send you a message, visit Royal Mail’s site for a current list of scams to avoid.


The 'scammers' are busy as usual, recent ones are from HMRC for a tax refund, HMRC don't get in touch with you in this way.
I am warned my netflix account is suspended, I don't have a netflix account but it is a worry if you do have an account with the supposed sender of the email, if in doubt log in to your account on their official site to see if it is a genuine request.


Microsoft Updates to our terms of use email

This is a genuine email, the links for the Microsoft Services Agreement, Microsoft Privacy and FAQ take you to a genuine Microsoft site.

The email is for information only and doesn't ask you for your Microsoft account details, the only requirement is that you read the terms and decide on the following question:

Microsoft Services Agreement

How do I accept these terms?

By using or accessing our products or services on or after 30 August 2019, you are agreeing to the updated Microsoft Services Agreement. If you do not agree, you can choose to discontinue using the products and services, and close your Microsoft account before 30 August 2019.

No doubt scammers will take advantage of these changes and send out emails that ask you to click on a link and update your Microsoft account, this will be a scam.


Follow this link: Take 5 -To stop fraud (taken from the National U3A newsletter for March 2019), there is also a link to the U3A National newsletter archives on the General news page.

I have had an email from Amazon telling saying my recent order couldn't be processed and to click on a link to confirm the order, the link wasn't to the Amazon website, if in doubt and you do have an account with Amazon log in to your account in the usual way and check your orders there.

Read about the 'phishing' scam on the BT phishing page.

The TV licence scam continues, my TV licence has expired (again), the latest one demands £17.... £17 ???.... seems reasonable.

A new twist on the TV licencing scam, they now tell me that the direct debit I made for TV licencing (which I didn't) failed and will I please try again, if the free TV licence for over 75's ceases in 2020 I can see this type of scam escalating.

HMRC scams continue to come and as it is nearing the end of the financial year we can expect reminders, demands and, if you are lucky, even a rebate from HMRC which makes these scams seem genuine, remember that HMRC will never contact you by email, only by letter, or, by telephone following a letter.

Advice from Gareth Lloyd, head of digital security at HMRC: "HMRC never contacts customers who are due a tax refund via email - we always send a letter through the post. If you receive an email claiming to be from HMRC which offers a tax rebate, please forward it to and then delete it permanently."


Phishing, smishing, vishing, what's that all about? the RBS exposes all types of banking scams on this site: Banking Scams

Has your email address or password been compromised? find out on this site: haveibeenpwned good advice is to change your password(s) regularly. You can also check which websites or companies have been 'hacked'.

A BBC reporter was targeted by the 'sextortion scammers' see the report here:

Hi all,
Scams, hoaxes, by email and ‘phone, are getting more frequent and sophisticated every day,
I have had two emails claiming there is a problem with my TV licence direct debit and the licence will be revoked if I don’t set up a new direct debit account, sorry hoaxer, I have a free TV licence, but it can be worrying if you do pay for your TV licence.

Several times I have had an automated ‘phone call purportedly from my internet service provider saying there is a problem with my broadband connection and to press ‘1’ to speak to an engineer, this one will re-direct YOUR ‘phone to an expensive call number and you wait in silence while your ‘phone bill mounts up.

I think we are all aware of the Microsoft windows problem ‘phone calls.

I am accused of watching porn on my laptop, evidence of which they have recorded via my laptop camera and the evidence will be forwarded to the appropriate authority if I don’t pay up.

There are warrants out for my arrest for not paying my tax bill unless I click on a link and pay a certain amount, why don’t they just arrest me instead of warning me and giving me a chance to skip the country? The reverse of this fraud is that you are owed a refund and to claim it by clicking on a link, no doubt to get your bank details and wipe out your account.

All scams aimed at getting your personal details and passwords.

HMRC and Banks don’t operate in this way or ask you for details on the 'phone or by email, HMRC will ‘phone you about a problem but only after a letter has been sent to you. Microsoft Windows users can hover their cursor over a link without clicking on it and a window will pop up showing the true address of the website you are being re-directed to, does it look anything like the website it is supposedly from?

If in doubt do nowt as we say up here in the frozen North, (my friends dahn Sarf really believe that) check with your Bank, ISP, HMRC or other firms via their official ‘phone number or website.

If you have a scam you want to share with others feel free to send me the details via the little bird on my Computer & IT page.


17/11/18 update: I have just read about a new 'Name Check' Security.
A new system to check the name of people you're sending money to will begin next Summer,in a bid to reduce fraud. Currently, when you make a payment online, only the account number and sort code are verified, not the recipient's name. Under the new 'Confirmation of payee' service banks will have to check that the name you enter matches that on the recipient's account. I thought they already did that.

20/11/18 One of our members sent me this message: hought you might like the telephone number for the HMRC scam. It is 01618 505157 just had the call so 1471'd it.

How to Avoid and Report Internet 'Scams' and 'Phishing'
These three websites will help you to recognise and report scams - they contain other useful links too.
Reporting a scam: Report a Scam
How to avoid a scam: Avoid and report internet scams
The Citizens Advice website: Spotting a Scam

Three useful publications from the Metropolitan Police that could help you to be safe online:

Little Book of Big Scams.
The latest edition of a booklet published by the Metropolitan Police about how to protect yourself against conmen/women in all their various guises and what to do if you find you have been scammed. Click the following link to open - Little Book of Big Scams

FALCON -Fraud And Linked Crime ONline.
A new booklet from the Metropolitan Police abut Cybercrime,
Click the following link to open - Little Book Of Cyberscams

A new leaflet from the Metropolitan Police on how to protect yourself online, click this link: Little Leaflet of Cyber Mistakes to read the leaflet.

You can check if a firm is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority# on its register at: