Scams and Fraud Advice

Unfortunately there are many scams out there, here are the more recent ones.   For up to date information please visit the Worcestershire Regulatory Services website

Remember if you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it onlineto actionfraud  or by telephone 0300 123 2040. 

 

FRAUDULENT "APPLE PAY" ALERT

Fraudsters are targeting classified advertisement websites like AutoTrader to advertise vehicles for sale. Buyers are then contacting these ‘sellers’ to find out more about the vehicles and are being told to pay for them via ‘Apple Pay’. In this case the fraudsters are not using the genuine Apple Pay service and potential victims pay money directly to bank accounts in control of the fraudsters. Individuals receive emails claiming to be from Apple Pay with a web link to a cloned website with false terms and conditions of the ‘escrow’ service. Any money remitted to the fraudsters is then unrecoverable and the vehicles are not delivered.

Protect yourself: Meet the seller ‘face to face’ and view the vehicle before parting with any money. Be cautious of web links in an email. They may not direct you to the genuine website. Report scam advertisements to the classified advertisement websites. If the vehicle is below market value, consider whether this is an opportunity too good to be true!   

 

FRAUDULENT "ON-LINE LOANS"

Fraudsters are targeting individuals who have recently expressed an interest in an online loan. Unsolicited calls are made by fraudsters who appear to be calling from a genuine company. They state that the recently applied for loan has been agreed, but an "advance fee" is required before the money can be transferred.

Once these “fees” have been paid, either directly to the fraudsters’ bank accounts or through a money service bureau, they are unrecoverable.

In many cases, fraudsters have asked for multiple upfront “fees” to address issues arising with the loan.

Protect yourself: Authentic credit companies do not charge fees in advance. Be wary of anyone calling who says they represent a credit company. Report any instances of a credit company attempting to request fees in advance of a loan to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

 

SPAM EMAILS

‘The Dyre Wolf’ - is a sophisticated fraud scheme that has netted more than $1 million from U.S companies. It is anticipated that British companies could subsequently be targeted by this fraud type.     Spam emails with attachments are sent to as many computers as possible within a targeted company. If installed, the malware - a variant of the malware known as Dyre – spreads itself into the company network where it waits until it recognises that a user is navigating to a bank website. A fake screen is then created telling the user that there are problems with the bank’s site and to call a number.     At the end of the phone line is an English speaking operator, aware of the bank that the user is attempting to contact. After obtaining the user’s bank details the operator commences a large wire transfer of money out of the business account.     So far those targeted work in large and medium sized companies, and at present the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau have yet to notice any reports of this type of fraud being reported through Action Fraud.    

Prevention Ensuring employees are well trained in spotting phishing attacks where unsolicited emails and attachment could contain malware.   Ensuring all company employees are aware of the scam.   Do not give banking details to anyone.   Only use confirmed banking phone numbers or those that have been previously used.   Do not follow links from an unknown source.   Do not open attachments on suspicious emails.   Run regular virus scans on devices.

 

British Gas or The Ministry of Justice - A scam email is currently being sent to victims fraudulently claiming to be from British Gas or The Ministry of Justice. The attached document or link leads to the TorrentLocker ransomware.

This malware encrypts files on the victim’s system and requests a ransom be paid in order for the files to be decrypted; one reported amount has been £330 worth of Bitcoins.

It has been reported that some anti-virus vendors are detecting this and stopping the pages and or documents from being opened.

Protect yourself - If you receive an email that you are suspicious of do not follow any links or open attachments until you can verify that the email is genuine. To do this contact the organisation that the email has come from by sourcing the number independently from the email received.

If you believe the email to be fake, report it to your email provider as spam.

Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date this will help to mitigate the potential for virus to be downloaded. It should be noted that anti-virus software is constantly being updated and may not stop all viruses especially if they are new or been adapted.  It has been reported that some anti-virus vendors are detecting this and stopping the pages and or documents from being opened. If you have opened an attachment or followed a link which you believe to be suspicious it is recommended that you run your anti-virus and/or take your machine to a reputable company to have it cleaned.

In cases where files have been encrypted it can be very difficult to retrieve them, and in most cases they will be lost. It is recommended that you always back up all files on a separate device or cloud storage to ensure they are not lost. Please remember that if a device is attached to the infected machine the files on this could also be encrypted with the virus so ensure they are kept separate.

   

COURIER FRAUD

Courier fraudsters have been identifying themselves to victims on the telephone as “Detective Constable Martin Benton of New Scotland Yard Fraud Department”. The fraudsters will invent a story regarding fraudulent activity on your card and request your bank/card details.

No such person exists at the Metropolitan Police. If you receive a call from someone purporting to be this individual, terminate the call immediately.  

Protect yourself against courier fraud: Your bank will never send a courier to your home Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN

If you receive one of these calls end it immediately   Victim Advice: If you have handed over any details to the fraudster, call your bank and cancel your cards immediately.

If you want to call your bank, then do it from another telephone.

 

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.