Scams & more
This page brings you news and information regarding scams, phishing and other such topics.
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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 must sign for and later ask for it back.
There is no harm in being suspicious and cautious, in all likelihood, you don't know them.
They will have a credible and well rehearsed story to tell you, to help you 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.
You may be threatened that your credit/debit card or bank account will be stopped.
You may be threatened that your computer or internet service will be blocked.
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 information that they may try to give you.
NEVER alow anybody inside your house if you are not expecting them. If you are unsure, ask them to produce their company's identity card and telephone the company to confirm they are who they say they are.
MAKE SURE THAT THEY STAY OUTSIDE OR IN FULL SIGHT, WHILST YOU ARE TELEPHONING THEIR COMPANY.
You may find the following informative:
- 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 reading the following publications, issued by the Metropolitan Police:
The Metropolitan Police have also produced the following useful videos:
THE FOLLOWING ARE SCAMS THAT HAVE RECENTLY BEEN IN THE PRESS
VISA FRAUD DEPARTMENT SCAM (20190909)
MICROSOFT TECHNICAL SUPPORT SCAM
BT TECHNICAL SUPPORT SCAM
What do these scams and many others, all have in common?
You receive an unexpected telephone call, which requests you to disclose your bank/credit card details, to switch on your computer and allow someone to take control of it or 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 in reading the Which? guide to phone scams.
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 have 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.