Latest - Scams and Cons

 

Advice given following Bank Scam in New Forest

We are asking people to be aware of a telephone scam in which victims are persuaded to disclose their PIN numbers and hand over their banks cards.

On Tuesday 12 March, we received reports of two incidents in the New Forest, in which the victims were called by someone claiming to be from their bank.

In the first incident, a 90-year-old man from New Milton was called by someone who claimed to be from his bank.  The caller said the man was due to receive a new bank card, and asked if he would like to continue using the PIN code from his current card.  During the course of the conversation, the victim disclosed his PIN number. A man then came to the man’s address and collected the current card, and gave the victim two gift cards. A total of £500 was then withdrawn from the victim’s account.

A similar method was used in the second incident. A total of £1,190 was taken from the victim, an 85-year-old woman from Ringwood. The man who collected her bank card was described as black, 5ft 11ins tall, of medium build, curly/wavy hair and was wearing a hi-vis jacket.

Both incidents are being treated as linked. We would like to take this opportunity to remind people that banks will never ask to disclose your PIN number in this way. They will not send a courier to collect your old bank card either.

If you get a call like this, please hang up and use a different line to report the incident via 101, or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. We are asking people to pass on this advice to friends and family and anyone you know who you think may be vulnerable to this type of scam. If you have any information, please contact us on 101, quoting reference number 44190087005/44190086974. In an emergency, call 999.

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Paws for thought - fake pet adverts

Between March 2012 and April 2018, 5066 reports of this fraud were made to Action Fraud.

Victims reported losing £3,129,273 during this time – an average of £40,640 per month.

How is this happening?

Fraudsters are advertising pets and pet accessories on online marketplaces at a lower than expected price in an attempt to attract victims. The fraudsters are then demanding full payment or a deposit for the animal via bank transfer or electronic wire.

To prevent requests to visit the animal, fraudsters will tell victims that it is located in a remote or faraway location, which stops them from travelling to see it.

In some cases, the fraudsters are telling victims that they need to pay further fees for animal travel insurance, documentation or special travel cages. Victims are promised that some or all of these extra fees will be refunded when they receive the animal, however once these funds have been transferred, the fraudster will stop all communication, leaving victims out of pocket and with no pet. A report from Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) shows that 61% of victims were female and 22% of victims were 20 – 29 years old. It also shows that 31% of people said falling victim to this type of fraud had a significant impact on their health and financial wellbeing.

The report suggests that fraudsters are targeting victims who wish to buy popular breeds. The highest number of reports related to pugs – 224 reports were made between January 2012 and May 2018, with victims losing £76,451. Fraudsters are also offering pet-related products for sale which don’t exist or are not as described. Equine accessories accounted for 92% of monetary losses. Between January 2012 and May 2018, 368 reports were made which concerned a horse box or trailer. The total reported loss was £1,145,369 with an average loss of £3,112 per victim.

Don’t get pugged off:

·         If you’re purchasing goods and services from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, or ask friends and family for advice before completing a purchase. Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

·   Avoid paying for good and services by bank transfer as that offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or payment services such as PayPal.

·   Ask for photographs or videos of the animal; a responsible seller will understand why the buyer wants photographs and more information before making a purchase.

·    Use the online marketplace’s ‘report’ function if you come across suspicious adverts or sellers.

·    Sellers offering to meet you ‘halfway’ seems generous but you should only buy the puppy directly from the place where he/she was born and raised.

·   When buying a puppy, you must insist on seeing the puppy interacting with its mother and littermates in the location where they were bred and reared - Make sure you visit the puppy more than once too.

·    If you think you have fallen victim to this type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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Instasham - Fraudulent Investments being promoted on Social Media

How is this happening?

Between October 2018 and February 2019, 356 reports of this fraud were made to Action Fraud.

The total loss was a shocking £3,168,464 – an average of £8,900 per person.

Action Fraud has seen an increased number of investment schemes being advertised on Instagram over recent months, with young people aged between 20 and 30 the most likely to fall victim.

Fraudsters are advertising ‘get rich quick’ investment schemes on the app, which promise a high return within 24 hours. A £600 investment is initially requested which fraudsters claim will be multiplied within 24 hours. 

Victims are then making payments via bank transfer to the fraudster’s bank account. Fraudsters are then sending screenshots of thousands in profit crediting their accounts, which they claim can be released for a fee. Victims have requested to withdraw their funds while they’re still in profit, and at this stage the fraudsters are stopping contact with the victim and closing the Instagram account. 

Inspector Paul Carroll, of Action Fraud, said:

“Opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of unsuspecting victims who are going about their day-to-day lives on social media. 

“It’s vital that you follow the simple steps below to make sure you don’t fall victim to this fraud.

“If you think you have been a victim, contact Action Fraud.”

Stay safe when scrolling:

Never respond to any requests to send money, or have money transferred into your account by someone you don’t know and trust. These types of requests should always raise a red flag. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.

Don’t immediately agree to any offer that involves an advance payment or having to sign a contract on the spot. Always speak with a friend or family member first.

Always check the credentials of any financial company on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) website: – they should be on the register. Contact the preferred company directly and reject any offers made through unsolicited communications.

Every report maters – if you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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International FIFA World Cup Online Lottery

THIS LETTER IS A SCAM - BIN IT

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Crime Prevention advice after man losing thousands in a scam

We are urging people to warn friends and relatives after a Hampshire man lost £27,000 to fraudsters.

The man received a letter claiming to be from Virgin Media reporting that there had been potential fraudulent activity on his account.The letter advised him not to check his bank details online until the issue had been resolved.  He then received a call from someone, described as having a strong accent, claiming to be from Virgin Media who told him his account had been subject of fraud. During a phone call of a number of hours, the fraudster was able to obtain the victims bank details and gain remote access to his computer. He claimed he was carrying out a security check of the computer and he had located several issues which needed to be remedied. During the call the fraudster was able to gain access to the victims bank account details and as a result was able to withdraw £27,000.

PC Jackie Conners, said: “If you receive a letter from a company claiming that your account has been subject of fraud it is important that you obtain a contact number for the company either from their web page or from a previous genuine bills. Do not call the number on the letter. If this is genuine correspondance you can call the company on their main number and they will be able to put you through to the correct department.  “If you are contacted directly by someone claiming to be from a company, request their details and which department they are from. Ask then for a reference number and advise them that you will contact them back using the main number for the company. Do not allow them to pursuade you otherwise. If they are genuine they will have no issue with this course of action.

“Always ensure that the phone line is clear. Often fraudsters will not hang up which could lead you to believe that you are speaking to someone else when infact you are still talking to the fraudster. If in doubt hang up and unplug your phone to clear the line prior to using it again.

“If anyone asks for remote access to your computer do not allow this and do not provide your bank details if requested.
“No genuine company would request remote access to your computer or ask you to disclose your security information linked to your bank account.

“Please pass this information on to your friends, family and neighbours so we can help prevent incidents like this in the future.”

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A third of over 75's are targeted by Investment Scams

- A fifth (22%) of over 55s and a third (32%) of over 75s believe they have been targeted by an investment scam in the last 3 years

- Over half (55%) of those who have invested in financial products did so on their own, rather than making the decision with family

- One in eight (14%) of over 55s spend little or no time researching financial investment products before handing over money, rising to a quarter (26%) of over 75s

New research by the FCA reveals a fifth (22%) of over 55s, with above average incomes, suspect they were targeted by a fraudulent investment scam in the past three years, rising to a third (32%) of those aged 75 and over.

On average, victims of investment fraud lost £32,000 each last year. Recent pension freedoms and low interest rates offering poor returns on savings are making over 55s an increasingly attractive target for fraudsters. The new research is part of the FCA’s ScamSmart campaign, helping to protect consumers from investment fraud. The campaign features an interactive tool, the FCA Warning List, that helps investors find out more about the risks associated with an investment, and check a list of firms the FCA knows are operating without its authorisation.

Despite the high number of people potentially contacted by these scams, one in eight (14%) of over 55s who have invested in financial products (such as stocks and shares) spend little or no time researching them before handing over money. Over 75s, who are most likely to say they have been contacted by an investment scam, are also the group most likely to do little or no research (26%). The most common check carried out before investing in a financial product was to look at a company’s website (41%). However, investment fraudsters and unauthorised firms are known to create highly professional-looking websites to entice victims, reinforcing how other checks need to be done to make sure an investment is genuine. Far fewer (27%) sought professional, impartial advice, a check the FCA encourages consumers to do before investing. 

Interestingly, more time and effort was being spent checking other high cost purchases, even though the money being spent is less. The average cost of major building work in our survey was £25,000, compared to the average of £36,000 spent on financial investments such as stocks or shares. Despite this, significantly more people (47%) said that they researched building work carefully and extensively, compared to those researching financial investments to the same extent (38%).

Over half (55%) of those who have invested in financial products did so on their own, rather than making the decision with family. This is more than any other major financial decision listed such as buying a house, a car or a significant holiday. Fraudsters will often encourage their targets to keep the investment a secret to avoid friends and family dissuading them from investing.

To avoid being a victim of investment fraud, the FCA advises consumers to, at the very least:

- Reject unsolicited contact about investments.

- Before investing, check the FCA Register to see if the firm or individual you are dealing with is authorised and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.

- Consider getting impartial advice before investing.

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Don't Let Flight Ticket Fraudster take off with your Cash

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, is warning half term holiday makers to avoid fraudulent flight ticket sellers as they use new tactics.


- Action Fraud warns half term holiday makers to avoid new tactics of fraudulent flight ticket sellers

- The reporting centre has received 110 reports with total losses of £98,043

- Check with ABTA and ATOL to make sure a ticket sales site is legitimately authorised

The reporting centre, which has received 110 reports with total losses of £98,043, has collated intelligence that fraudsters are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad.

New tactics - how does it happen?

Victims are being cold called by fraudsters purporting to be travel companies. However fraudsters in these cases are using new tactics to gain the victim’s trust. Intelligence suggests they appear to know that the victim has recently been searching to book flights online. It is suspected that this is because the victim has provided their contact details when making a search for flights on a bogus website which records their personal details. Once contacted, the victim wrongly believes the call to be genuine and a deliberately low quote for the desired flights tempts many victims into making payment.

After having made a payment for flights as a result of the call, victims have reported receiving a confirmation email but further enquiries with the airline have revealed their booking does not exist. When victims have attempted to re-contact the suspect they have found that all contact has been severed.

Protect yourself

Action Fraud is urging people to be wary of unsolicited calls, emails and texts offering questionably good deals on flights. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you’re purchasing tickets from a company you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, such as searching the company’s name on the ABTA and ATOL databases. You can also ask friends or family for advice before you make a purchase. 

Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer as it offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or payment services such as PayPal.

Never reveal any personal or financial details as a result of an unsolicited call, email or text. Even if someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud said: “We see holiday and flight related frauds at peak times throughout the year, but this type of fraud is different.

“By contacting people who have recently searched for flights online, the fraudsters are able to gain the victim’s trust much more quickly.

“It’s essential that people check with ABTA and ATOL before using a flight ticket website or broker to make sure the site is legitimately authorised.”

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said: “Travellers are at risk from increasingly sophisticated attempts to sell them fraudulent flight tickets. For those unlucky enough to fall victim to this malicious activity, it causes real financial and emotional distress, while also shattering their plans for a holiday or a visit to see family and friends.

“To protect yourself from fake flight tickets research the company you are booking with and if booking online to thoroughly check the web address to make sure it is legitimate.

“For further advice visit abta.com and if you think you’ve bought a fraudulent ticket report it to Action Fraud.”

For more information about how to protect yourself online, visit Cyber Aware and Take Five.

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Some Victims of Pension Scams have lost more than £1m in Savings!

Intelligence gathered by members of the multi-agency Project Bloom group, which was set up to tackle pension scams, has found some people who had managed to put away more than £1m have lost their retirement funds to criminals.

New Action Fraud data reveals that two people have reported that they have lost the seven-figure sums. However, as it is believed that the majority of scam victims never contact the authorities, this total may only be a fraction of the total number of people who have handed over such large pension pots.

On average, victims of pension scams lost £91,000 each to fraudsters in 2017. They reported receiving cold-calls, offers of free pension reviews and promises that they would get high rates of return - all of which are key warning signs of scams.

A ban on pension cold calling came into force earlier this month. Firms who break the rules could face penalties of up to half a million pounds. Research conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority highlights that a large proportion of pension holders consider themselves to be too savvy to be scammed.

Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, said:

“Victims of scams are often traumatised by what has happened to them and many inevitably are left questioning how they are going to afford to retire. The average loss of a victim is £91,000 but these Action Fraud reports show that people can also lose much, much more. However large your pension pot, you must be vigilant and able to spot and avoid a scam.”

Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud, said:

“These statistics prove that the consequences of falling victim to a pension scam can be devastating. Victims can lose their life savings and are left facing retirement with little or no income. This is why it’s so important that you are vigilant if you receive an offer about your pension out of the blue and that you check who you are dealing with. If you think you have been a victim of pension fraud, please report it to us.”

The partners in Bloom will meet this week to discuss the scams problem and how the partners could work even closer together to target those responsible.

Visit www.fca.org.uk/ScamSmart to understand the signs of a scam if you are considering transferring your pension. If you think you have been a victim of a pension scam, report it to Action Fraud online at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or by calling 0300 12302040. 

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Fraudsters posing as officials - from your bank or the police

Courier Scam is one of the fastest rising types of fraud in the country. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and believable. They can catch out anyone - people like you and me – if we are not alert.  80% of scams start with a phone call.

In a recent example, a criminal posing as a bank employee called a retired bank manager and warned him his account was being attacked - and he should move all money to a new account to protect it. They gave him details of the new account – and a phone number to call to check they were authentic.

He believed the scammers, made the transfer and lost £8000.

How to keep safe from this type of fraud.

1. Banks or Police will never contact you in this way – so put down the phone.
2. Check with your bank using another phone – as the fraudsters can stay on the line.
3. Don’t call a number they give you – use the number on the rear of your bank card.
4. Never give your PIN to anyone
5. If people call you ‘out of the blue’ - never give them any personal details.
If scammed - what next?
6. Report this has happened - Call Hampshire Police on 101 and ask for Operation Signature.
More

For more advice on tell tale signs and how to avoid being a fraud victim see the Hampshire Police website: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/prevent-personal-fraud/

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Advice issued following reports of bogus police officer scam

We are urging people to be wary following reports of a scam in which fraudsters pose as police officers.

On Tuesday 22 January, an 87-year-old man from Fordingbridge was called by a man who claimed to be Detective Inspector.  The victim was told he had been targeted by fraudsters, and that he needed to go to the bank and withdraw £4,000.

The fraudster told the victim to lie to bank staff about why he was withdrawing the money. He also persuaded him to stay on his mobile phone as he entered the bank. Fortunately bank staff became suspicious and reported the incident to police. No money was lost.

Similar incidents have been reported recently in Blackwater and Romsey.

This is a common scam in which often older or more vulnerable people are targeted.

We would like to remind people that officers, banks or any other authority figure will never call in this way.

If you do get a call from someone who claims you need to withdraw money from a bank, hang up and report it. It will be a scam.

Make a note of the date and time of the call, and the number, if available – this information could help any future investigation.

Never reveal your bank details or give personal information to people who cold call.

If you know somebody who could be taken in by such a scam, please take the time to speak to them and give them our advice.

You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself against them by visiting the Action Fraud website: www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

If you or someone you know falls victim to this type of offence, please report it immediately to police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress

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Council Tax Scams

New Forest District Council are warning residents to be on their guard against a scam offering council tax refunds and suggesting that your property is in an incorrect Tax Band.

Scammers are e-mailing residents to inform them they have overpaid their council tax.  The e-mail is sent from; InfoCouncilTaxOverpaymentAlert

To receive the alleged overpayment, the e-mail asks the customer to respond within three days and to provide their bank details .  

Our clear advice to residents is to never give out your bank details and to delete the e-mail.

More Information online

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