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August 2021

Fake COVID-19 passes – text message scam!

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has recently issued warnings over a new text message scam that tries to trick people into signing up for COVID-19 passes.

The text message, which appears to have come from the NHS, reads: ‘NHS: We’ve noticed you haven’t applied for your COVID pass, please follow the link to complete registration to avoid fees:’ followed by a link.

There has been a countless number of different scams related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic last year, and this is just another attempt made by scammers to get hold of people’s personal details.

The link in the text message leads to a malicious website which has been created by scammers. It will ask you for personal information required to be issued with a ‘Covid-19 pass’. But instead, the scammers are harvesting this information so they can use it to steal your identity and commit other crimes.

They may even ask for your bank details, claiming that you now have to pay for vaccination passes/certificates.

Important:

Never click on a link sent to you within an unsolicited text message, social media message, or email.

If you received this text message scam, or anything similar, then it’s important to also report it to Action Fraud. Reporting these scams is one of the best ways to protect other people, as the key to stopping fraud is fraud awareness.


July 2021

New Lloyds text message scam!

A new text message scam featuring Lloyds bank has recently started to appear in people’s inboxes.

The text message reads "LLOYDS BANK: A payment was attempted from a NEW DEVICE on 13/07 at 01:53:18.

If this was NOT you, please visit https://lloyds-react-cancel-device.com."

The link will take you to a malicious website which has been designed to steal any personal information or bank details that you enter. This will enable the scammers to then steal your identity and access your bank accounts.

This scam is particularly worrying for those that genuinely bank with Lloyds as they may worry that someone has accessed their account. However, this is exactly what the scammers are trying to make you believe, and then do themselves.

Important to remember:

Lloyds, or any other bank, will never contact you out of the blue and ask for any personal information or bank details including log-in details, passwords, and OTPs.

If you think that you have been a victim of fraud then you should call your bank immediately using the number provided on the back of your card.


July 2021

Scam calls that match your phone number!

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has recently issued warnings of scam calls that appear to be coming from a number very similar to the victims’ own numbers. Action Fraud received 2,110 reports of these scams calls in May this year.

Typically, the first seven digits of the number match the victim’s number which is in a bid to throw people off and answer. The scammers are posing as government officials or law enforcement agents and are accusing people of unpaid fines and police warrants. They are asking the victims to ‘press 1’ in order to speak to a police officer or advisor to get the situation sorted.

Once you interact with the caller and press 1, this is likely to start adding high charges to your phone bill. They may also try and obtain your personal information and bank details by saying that a fine needs to be paid.

It’s important to remember that you should never give anyone your details over the phone, no matter who they say they are. The government or police would never inform you of fines or warrants over the phone or via text message.


June 2021

36 million people targeted by a scammer so far in 2021!

New research by Citizens Advice has found that more than two thirds of adults in the UK have been targeted in some way by a scammer so far this year.

Although those aged 55 and above are most likely to be targeted, those aged 34 and under are almost five times more likely to fall victim.

Out of those who said that they had been targeted by a scammer;

  • 54% were fake delivery and parcel related
  • 41% involved the scammer posing as a government official
  • 12% involved fake investments and ‘get rich quick’ schemes

Scam reports have been increasing sharply during the first half of this year when compared to the same period of 2020. The number of scam reports to Citizens Advice has risen by 123% in the 5 month timeframe.


June 2021

HMRC warns of tax credit scams !

In the 12-month period between 30th April 2020 and 30th April 2021, HMRC responded to over half a million reports of tax rebate scams.

During the same period, HMRC worked with Ofcom and other telecoms companies to remove over 3,000 malicious phone numbers and they also worked with internet service providers to take down nearly 16,000 malicious websites. Phone scams were up 135% on the previous year, with 443,033 reports.

These scams aim to trick those who are doing their tax credits renewal into handing over their personal information and bank details. The scammers will usually ask for bank details so the tax credits can be transferred to you, or they will ask you to transfer money after claiming that you were given too much.

How to protect yourself:

  • Never give your personal information or bank details to anyone over the phone or via email.
  • HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for this kind of information, so be wary of anyone contacting you claiming to be from HMRC.
  • Do not trust caller IDs and phone numbers even if they match HMRC’s genuine numbers that you can find online as these can easily be spoofed.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve given your details or transferred money to a scammer. You should also report any tax related scams to HMRC through the GOV.UK website in order to help protect others.


May 2021

Watch out for investment scams on social media!

Since the start of the pandemic last year, fraud and scam figures have soared as we move more and more aspects of our lives online.

According to Action Fraud, over £63 million has been lost through investment scams during a 12 months period. All of these reports made reference to social media platforms (most commonly Instagram, followed by Facebook) in that the victims were either contacted directly by scammers through the platform, or they were drawn into an advertisement.

Scammers have also been using images of well-known, trusted social media influencers without their permission to make it look as if that person endorses the investment opportunity. Between April 2020 and March 2021, Action Fraud received over 500 reports of investment fraud where the scammer promoted fake celebrity/influencer endorsements.

44.7% of the reports said that they were tricked into investing in a type of cryptocurrency, but other reports mentioned foreign exchanges and bonds.

How to protect yourself from online investment scams:

  • Never make investments through a company that you have found through social media advertisements, or if someone contacts you directly via social media messaging, email, or phone call. If you want to make an investment then you should do so through an FCA authorised firm. Details of this can be found on the FCA Register. You should also check the FCA Warning List of firms that you should avoid.
  • Make sure you seek advice from a trusted source before making a significant investment. You should opt for professional financial advice, but even speaking to your close relatives or friends will help you’re unsure. Remember that even genuine investment opportunities can be high risk.
  • Never be rushed into making any financial decisions. Genuine, professional advisors and firms never pressure you into investment opportunities.


May 2021

Protect your pension as £1.8m already lost to pension fraud this year!

According to Action Fraud, 107 reports of pension fraud were received in the first three months of this year. This is an increase of nearly 45% when compared with the same period of 2020.

Pension scams usually include ‘too good to be true’ investment opportunities, free pension reviews, or offers to release cash from your pension pot before you’re 55.

Scammers may contact their victims through phishing emails and text messages, but the most common method for these types of scams is cold calling.

The scammers will put you under a lot of pressure and will try to keep you on the phone instead of allowing you time to go away and think or seek advice. They may even pose as your pension provider and say that you must do what they’re telling you otherwise you could lose your savings.

Pensions scams are hugely damaging both financially and emotionally with some victims losing their life savings to these criminals.

How to protect yourself from pension scams:

  • If you are offered any help or opportunities regarding your pension over the phone or via email, reject it immediately and conduct your own research if you’re interested in making any amendments to your pension.
  • Research the company that they claim to be from and check if they’re on the FCA register. If they’re not on the register then they’re not authorised by the FCA and should be avoided.
  • Do not be pressured into making any withdrawals from your pension or making any investments. If you’re unsure on what to do then speak to a trusted family member, friend, or seek professional financial advice before taking any action. If you genuinely want to seek out investment opportunities then a financial advisor will be able to discuss the best options with you.
May 2021

Holiday scams warning as lockdown continues to ease!

Scammers have been taking advantage of the pandemic since the very beginning, and now that we’re coming out the other side, the easing of restrictions is providing yet another opportunity for scammers to con people out of their money.

As we’re getting closer to May 17th , the next step in the government’s easing of lockdown, plan, people have been rushing to book holidays and tickets to concerts and festivals. Scammers have been taking advantage of this with scams that include fake ticket sales, fake hotel bookings, and fake travel insurance.

They have created fake websites and are promoting them online, but other tactics being used are phishing emails, social media posts, and cold calls.

Things to remember:

  • Be suspicious of details that are too good to be true. If you find a website that offers prices far below well-known websites, ask yourself why.
  • Only ever buy tickets through well-established legitimate websites, like Ticketmaster for example, or through a reputable travel agent/company.
  • Never pay for tickets via a bank transfer as you will have little to no protection and it’s unlikely that you’ll get your money back if you’ve been scammed. If you can, use a credit card and this will give you the greatest protection.
  • Only buy travel insurance from well-known trusted providers. Go to a website like GoCompare or Money Supermarket as they will not only get you the best deal, but they only list legitimate providers.
  • Don’t buy tickets through a link that you’ve received via email – instead you should type the website URL directly into your browser. You should also never buy tickets from somebody over the phone.
April 2021

Royal Mail unpaid shipping fee text scam!

unpaid shipping scam

Fraudsters have started to send out new text message scams pretending to be from Royal Mail.

The messages come from a normal/unknown mobile phone number. Legitimate text messages come from RoyalMail with no phone number displayed.

The text that we have seen says “Royal Mail: Your item has a £2 unpaid shipping, to pay now please visit (scam website). Your item will return to the sender if unpaid.”

If you click on this link then you will be taken to a scam website where you are asked to enter your bank details in order to pay the fee. After you’ve done this and the scammers know what bank you use, they will call you pretending to be from your bank’s fraud department.

The scammers will tell you that you’ve fallen for this Royal Mail scam and that scammers have tried to set up direct debits in your name or make large payments from your account. They will then say that they’ve issued you with new bank cards and a new sort code and account number, as well as ask you to transfer all of your money to a new account which is controlled by them.

This is known as a ‘safe account’ scam. For more on information on safe account scams, please read the following article: What is a ‘safe account’ scam and how to protect yourself

April 2021

Predictions of Covid-19 lateral flow test scams!

Every adult in the UK can now order packs of free rapid lateral flow tests from the GOV.uk website to do at home instead of having to go to a test site. This is very good news in terms of progression in the fight against the pandemic, but this is bringing up concerns about potential scams.

Scammers have taken full advantage of this pandemic ever since the start by praying on people’s worries and concerns. There’s no doubt that they will now be focusing on creating fake website to try and trick people into ordering and paying for fake lateral flow tests.

This is the only website that you should be ordering lateral flow tests from:

https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

You do not have to fill in any payment details as the tests are free. You only need to enter some personal details and your delivery address.

If you’re on a website that asks for you to pay for tests then leave the site immediately and report it to Action Fraud.

 

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