This page brings you news and information regarding scams, phishing and other such topics.
If you feel something should be added, is incorrect, misleading or confusing, please let us know using the CONTACT page.
Should you be a victim of fraud or cyber crime, you can report it using the Action Fraud online reporting service at any time of the day or night, see the link below. The service enables you to both report a fraud and find help and support. They also provide help and advice over the phone through the Action Fraud contact centre. You can talk to their fraud and cybercrime specialists by calling 0300 123 2040.
******* Please see below for the latest scams being perpetrated under the guise of CORONAVIRUS help. *******
The Police, Banks or HMRC will NEVER TELEPHONE YOU to ask you to transfer money, withdraw cash, for your bank account/card details or your PIN. If this is where the conversation is going, just hang up!
Additionally, don't let people send you money, even if you do get to keep some of it! This is called money laundering, which is illegal and only helps criminals "clean" cash acquired via illegal activities such as drug smuggling, prostitution and people trafficking. They will of course, want your bank details as well!
There is only ever one reason that a scammer will contact you and that is to steal something, be it money, information or goods.
They may call at your door, telephone you, email you, text you, stop you in the street to ask for help or leave a package that you sign for and they later ask for it back.
There is no harm in being suspicious and cautious, because in all likelihood you don't know them, so why trust them?
They will have a credible and well rehearsed story to tell you, to help you to give them what they want.
DO NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS when they ask for any personal information or for you to identify yourself in some way. Remember, it's you that doesn't know them!
You may be threatened that your credit/debit card or bank account will be stopped.
You may be threatened that your internet service or computer will be blocked or even that there is pornography on it.
Whatever the threat, tell them that you will contact the relevant company yourself to sort out the problem.
There is no point arguing with them, just HANG UP.
DO NOT USE any contact telephone number(s) that they may try to give you.
Wait at least half an hour or longer before telephoning the relevant company, as the caller may still be on the line, even after you have hung up. Alternatively, if you can, use a different telephone number to call from.
NEVER ALLOW ANYBODY INSIDE YOUR PROPERTY if you are not expecting them or don't know them. Ask them to produce their company's identity card and telephone the company to confirm their identity and the reason that they are here. If they are genuine, they will not mind your doing so.
ALWAYS REMEMBER, EVEN IF THEY ARE IN A UNIFORM e.g. Policeman's, British Gas Engineer's, they may not be what they appear to be.
MAKE SURE THAT THEY STAY OUTSIDE WHILST YOU ARE TELEPHONING THEIR COMPANY and SHUT YOUR DOOR.
DO NOT USE any contact telephone number(s) that they may try to give you.
You may find it helpful to have a list of the telephone numbers that you may need to call, just in case!
If you want to block a phone number from calling you again, click on CALL BLOCKING SERVICES, under LINKS on the right-hand side of this page, for details of how to do it.
To reduce the number of nuisance calls that you receive, you can register your telephone number with the Telephone Preference Service.
To reduce the amount of junk mail that you receive, you can register your address with the Mailing Preference Service.
You may find the following informative:
- Coronavirus Scams from National Trading Standards.
- Action Fraud is a service run by the City of London Police working alongside the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. This has details on a number of scams currently being operated.
- Take Five from Financial Fraud Action UK, is well worth a read and has tips on a variety of scams and fraud.
- ScamSmart from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), gives you the opportunity to check out whether a pension or investment opportunity is genuine.
- Password Checker from the Open University, allows you to test the strength of your passwords.
You may be interested in looking at the following, which have been issued by the Metropolitan Police:
THE FOLLOWING ARE SCAMS THAT HAVE RECENTLY BEEN IN THE PRESS
CORONAVIRUS SCAMS (20200324)
National Trading Standards has uncovered the latest scams which appear to offer you help but do not. These can be seen at Coronavirus Scams.
HMRC SCAM (20200321)
The phone call begins with an automated message stating that they are an official representative from HMRC. It then goes on to say that they are prosecuting you and have issued a warrant for your arrest. The message will then ask you to press 1 to speak to a case officer.
If you receive this type of call, please terminate it immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
TV LICENSING EMAIL (20200317)
SEVERN TRENT EMAIL
Fake emails are being sent in order to collect your personal and banking details.
The email may use a title such as Unable to collect your payment or Your outstanding account balance.
DO NOT click on or follow any link.
VISA FRAUD DEPARTMENT SCAM (20190909)
MICROSOFT TECHNICAL SUPPORT SCAM
BT TECHNICAL SUPPORT SCAM
YOUR INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER SCAM
What do the above scams and many others, all have in common?
You receive an unexpected telephone call, which requests you to do something like the following:
- Disclose your bank/credit card details.
- Switch on your computer and allow someone to take control of it.
- Answer some simple questions to "identify yourself" to them.
If you refuse to co-operate, your information remains safe.
You may well be threatened that your credit card, bank account, computer or internet will be stopped.
Politely advise them that you will contact the relevant company yourself to sort out the problem, then hang up.
You may be interested to read the Which? guide to phone scams under LINKS on the right-hand side of this page.
THE MOBILE PHONE DELIVERY SCAM (20190823)
A brand new top-of-the-range phone is delivered to your door. The package has your name and address on it but you don't remember ordering it.
There is another knock at the door and a courier asks for the phone back explaining: "We delivered it by mistake."
Would you hand it over? If you do, it could prove to be an expensive mistake. You've already signed for it!
It is a scam and yet another way that sophisticated thieves try to rip us off.
The scam involves crooks ordering, then attempting to intercept or trick you into handing over, high-value packages.
It usually happens when criminals somehow manage to get hold of your personal details to place the order.
If the crooks fail to intercept the delivery in the street, they often pose as a courier and try to collect the "wrongly delivered" item from your house.
If a courier unexpectedly comes to collect an item at your home, DO NOT hand it over.
Check their credentials and call the company they claim to be representing. If you have any fears, contact the police.
TV LICENCE REFUND EMAIL (20190624)
Action Fraud has advised that fake emails are being sent in order to collect your personal and banking details.
The email may use a title such as Correct your TV licencing information or Your TV licence expires today.
DO NOT click on or follow any link.
DVLA TAX REFUND TEXT MESSAGE (20190605)
A text message scam is being circulated that purports to be from the DVLA, advising that you have been identified as having an outstanding tax refund from an overpayment.
You are asked to follow at https://dvla.refund-form-ref62.com.
DO NOT click on or follow any link.
The website of any government agency will include "gov.uk" in its address.
FACEBOOK MESSENGER (20190603)
Have you ever had your Facebook account cloned? Scammers have been reported using the details of friends to trick you into sharing your personal data.
A message on Facebook Messenger can look like it has been sent by a friend but fraudsters can clone a friend’s account by copying their Facebook profile picture and setting up a new account in their name.
Lookalike profiles are a common social media scam that can lead you into a false sense of security, because you think you are messaging with a friend.
These messages will often try to get you to click on a bogus link or ask you for personal details.
To spot these scams, pay attention to the language your ‘friend’ is using. Is it different to their usual? Can you see the history of previous messages you’ve exchanged with your friend’s genuine account? A quick scroll up in the chat will show you.
Let your friends know if this happens to you, because the scammers may be able to clone your friends.
Now go and make your Friends List private.
PARKING METER (LEBANESE LOOP) SCAM (20190501)
Have you heard of the ‘Lebanese Loop’ parking meter scam?
A person was recently stopped by a man, who pleaded with them to help him with a parking meter that wouldn’t accept a foreign bank card.
Unfortunately, they offered to use their card as the man said that he would pay them back in cash.
The scammer insisted on pressing the buttons but let the cardholder type in their own PIN – which the cardholder thought they had concealed from him.
The scammer then said that the transaction was void and the card wouldn’t come out of the machine. He rang what he said was the number shown on the parking meter, then gave the cardholder his phone to speak with the parking meter personnel.
They told the cardholder that if a second credit card was inserted, it would force the first one out.
Of course upon trying this, the card did not come out!
After the scammer left, the cardholder tried calling the number on their own phone – it was an automated message.
In 10 minutes the thieves had withdrawn £500 on EACH card.
Fortunately, the bank refunded the amount.
Remember, it may feel good to help someone in trouble but when it involves your bank cards or details, keep them to yourself.
HMRC SCAM (20190421)
A scam recently highlighted in the press, is scammers telephoning who claim to work for HMRC.
They continue by explaining that there has been an error in your previous tax returns and that you owe them money.
You may then be told there are court orders or even arrest warrants issued against you and that you must make immediate payment, whilst they stay on the telephone.
The advice is to ignore any pressure upon you to make a payment and to contact HMRC yourself, using a telephone number that you know is genuine, not one that the person may have just given to you.
Always remember that you are in full control of this telephone call - just hang-up!
If HMRC believe that you owe them money, they will have written to you with a clear explanation.
An important update on recent investment scams (31 Jul 2020)
Lockdown has brought out the best in many people, but unfortunately it's also brought out the worst in a small minority. So, it's times like these when we need to be extra vigilant with our finances.
We're hearing more and more about an increase in the number of financial scams. The nature of these scams has changed slightly, with an increase in scammers using email and cold calls in an attempt to steal money from people. They often do this by encouraging people to move their money to what seems like a great investment deal. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their approach, so it's important to be on your guard, particularly if you're asked to transfer any money or offered something which sounds too good to be true.
A recent scam using our company name
Over the last few weeks we've heard of a scam using our company name to entice people to move their money. The scammers are promoting products they claim are from Prudential, but actually don't exist.
If you've been contacted about a Prudential Deposit Fixed Rate Saver or Fixed Rate Deposit Bond, please be extra vigilant. These products are known to be linked to fraudulent activity.
Some other new scams to look out for
Here are a few other scams to beware of:
'Good cause' scams, where scammers will ask you to invest in good causes such as face masks and hand sanitiser production, often promising lucrative returns
Cold calls, emails, texts or WhatsApp messages telling you that your bank is in trouble due to the pandemic and you need to transfer your money to an alternative bank account
Scammers asking for upfront fees when applying for loans or credit cards that you'll never receive, in an attempt to exploit people experiencing short-term financial concerns
Here are some other signs of a scam that you should look out for:
A call, email or text message asking you for personal details or to transfer money
A cold call or email from someone pretending to be from an authorised insurance company, trying to advise you on the sale of a pension or investment product
Anyone asking for your passwords
Anyone asking you to move money into another account or asking you to pay fees directly into another bank account
Remember to trust your instincts. If you think the offer sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
How to protect yourself
There are ways you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of scams:
Don't click on links or open emails from senders you don't already know
Fraudsters try to make their emails look genuine, so check your emails are actually from whom they claim to be. Look out for spelling mistakes and be aware that as a Prudential customer, you will only receive emails from @pru.co.uk or @prudential.co.uk email addresses and not deviations such as @prudentialltd.co.uk. To check if an email address is genuine, you should scroll over the sender name to see if there is a different email address behind it
Always do your homework before you give away any personal details to a person or organisation you don't already know
Be vigilant when taking unsolicited calls or checking unexpected emails
Avoid being rushed or pressured into making decisions
You can find out more on spotting scams and what to do to protect yourself by visiting our dedicated scams hub. You can also visit the Financial Conduct Authority's Scamsmart website for more information on how to avoid pension and investment scams.