Below are a the latest scams reported by Neighbourhood Watch. Archived scams can be found here.
What you need to know
Fraudsters have been advertising vehicles and machinery for sale on various online selling platforms, this includes vehicles and machinery used by the agricultural industry.
The victims, after communicating via email with the fraudster, will receive a bogus email which appears to be sent by a trustworthy third party, often PayPal or Escrow.
The emails are designed to persuade victims to pay upfront via bank transfer rather than through a protected payment method via the website. The victim pays the deposit before visiting the seller to collect the goods, believing there is a ‘cooling off’ period to reclaim the payment if they change their mind.
This gives victims the false sense of security that their money is being looked after by this trustworthy third party, when in fact, it is not and the money has gone straight to the fraudster.
It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving emails or messages of this nature.
What you need to do
-Never transfer money for a vehicle you haven’t seen in person.
-Avoid paying for the vehicle 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.
-If you’re purchasing 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.
Individuals have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to be a police officer or banking official
The suspect will say either:
-- There has been fraudulent activity at the victim’s bank and the staff at the bank are involved, the victim is then asked to withdraw money to either keep it safe or assist the police with their investigation
-- A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is fraudulent and they require the victim's assistance to help secure evidence by purchasing jewellery or exchange a large amount of currency to hand over to the police
-- The victim's card has been compromised and used to purchase goods by a suspect, the victim is requested to withdraw their money to keep it safe or hand over their bank card to the police
-- Occasionally the victim will be told to dial a non-emergency extension of ‘161’ to receive confirmation of the individual’s bogus identity, the bogus official will advise the victim to lie about the reason for the withdrawal or purchase if challenged by staff, as the staff member is involved in the fraud
-- A courier attends the victim’s home address to collect the goods the same day, often the victim is given a code word for the courier as a way of authentication
- Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password
- Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping
- Ask you to transfer money out of your account
- Send someone to your home to collect cash, PINs, cards to cheque books
Fraudsters send fake Virgin Media emails threatening “automatic disconnection”
Action Fraud has received over 100 reports about fake emails that purport to be from Virgin Media. The emails threaten the recipient with “automatic disconnection” due to “invalid billing information”. The links in the emails lead to genuine-looking phishing websites that are designed to steal your Virgin Media account login details.
Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
For more information on how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk
How you can protect yourself:
- Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
- Don’t assume a phone call or email is authentic, even if someone knows your basic details (such as your name or address). Remember, criminals can spoof phone numbers and email addresses to appear as companies you know and trust, such as TV Licensing.
- Your bank will never call and ask you for your PIN, full banking password, or ask you to transfer money out of your account.
What to do if you’ve fallen victim:
- Let your bank know as soon as possible and monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.
- If you suspect your identity may have been stolen you can check your credit file quickly and easily online. Use a reputable service provider and follow up on any unexpected or suspicious results.
- If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.