Scam Updates: June ’22
Travel-related Cybercrime Takes Off as Industry Rebounds
Researchers are warning a post-COVID upsurge in travel has painted a bullseye on the travel industry and has spurred related cybercrimes.
Criminal activity includes an uptick in adversaries targeting the theft of airline mileage reward points, website credentials for travel websites and travel-related databases breaches, according to a report by Intel 471.
The impact of the attacks are hacked accounts stripped of value. But also, researchers say the consequences of recent attacks can also include flight delays and cancelations as airlines grapple with mitigating hacks. For more on this, click here.
Alarming growth in Investment Fraud
Investment fraud has risen 42% (year on year) and this number will continue to rise unless action is taken to publicise this risk and educate everyone about the different tips and tricks to spot and prevent investment fraud.
What is Investment Fraud?
Investment scams aim to get unsuspecting people to hand over money – they can seem perfectly legitimate, appearing knowledgeable with websites, testimonials and marketing material.
They normally involve the criminals contacting the victim out of the blue and convincing them to invest in schemes or products that simply don’t exist or are worthless.
Spot the signs of an investment scam
There are different characteristics and signs you can look out for, if unsure of an investment opportunity:
- Out of the blue contact is made by the criminal(s)
- Phone calls, text messages, email or physical contact
- A firm doesn’t allow you to call them back
- Time constraints are forced upon you to make a decision
- Pressured into making a decision
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
How to protect yourself
- Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into investing on the spot.
- Before making significant financial decisions, speak with trusted friends or family members, or seek professional independent advice.
- Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA.
For more information about investment fraud, and what to do if you have been a victim of this scam please visit the Action Fraud website.
Carphone Warehouse scam exposed
Consumer champions Which? are warning us about the re-emergence of a Carphone Warehouse scam whereby fraudsters impersonate Carphone Warehouse to target would-be customers under the pretence of selling a new mobile phone. Which? has now documented the whole elaborate scam journey.
While Which? recommend that you always hang up on a suspicious call, they’ve gone along with this scam to show you how it works, what to watch out for and how to report a call such as this.
New cyber support hub for retail businesses launches as cyber-attacks on retailers increase by 30%
On Monday 20th June 2022 the Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands and the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) launched a new cyber support hub for its members. Bira is the leading trade association for independent retailers in the UK, whose mission is to support, protect and grow the business of British retailers.
The retail industry is responsible for around 16% of the West Midlands economy which makes it the largest in the region. Birmingham is the leading centre in the county and one of the strongest centres in the whole of the UK with the Bullring in particular being of retail acclaim.
A report published by PwC revealed that cyber-attacks on retail clients had increased by over 30%, and with the opening of retail businesses having increased by 8% in the last two years, the industry is becoming more and more appealing to cybercriminals. There have been further reports that suggest cyber-attacks on retailers occurred roughly 1 in every 8 days in 2021.
To help retailers across the whole country to strengthen their cyber security and adopt basic practices, the newly launched cyber support hub will host a surplus of content that includes easy-to-follow and simple top tips on key topics such as two-factor authentication, the use of passwords, application and software updates.
To read more about this, click here.
Public warned about ‘convincing’ National Insurance phone scam
A National Insurance scam is once again circulating as criminals try to get their hands on the British public’s hard-earned cash.
A number of people have reported receiving a phone call, with an automated message informing them about an issue with their National Insurance number. The message tells the person there have been “unethical financial transactions” supposedly associated with their number. They are then informed their National Insurance number is set to be terminated in a “final warning”.
In order to resolve the alleged issue, members of the public are then prompted to press one on their receiver to obtain further details. Doing so could lead to victims being subject to identity theft and having their personal banking accounts compromised. To read more about this scam click here.
Lloyds Bank issues urgent warning to customers regarding a new scam
Hot on the heels of last week’s circulation of a new HSBC scam, it appears Lloyds Bank are now also contacting their customers to make them aware of a new ‘advance fee’ loan scam. The bank has seen a significant increase in these types of scams over the last few months.
Loan scams happen when a victim is asked to pay an upfront fee for a loan. Victims will typically reply to an online advert for a ‘fast loan’ from a company they have never heard of before, though sometimes the fraudsters will try to impersonate a genuine firm.
Victims will have their application approved regardless of their credit history. Before they receive the loan, they are told they must pay an upfront fee by bank transfer. Once this fee is paid, the fraudster may even ask for further payments. Eventually, the victim does not hear from the company again and the loan is never received.
Data suggests these types of scams may have increased by an eye-watering 90% already this year!
To read more about this, click here.
Cost of living crisis – 4 scams to watch out for
As the cost of living crisis really starts to bite, the general public should be aware that scammers and fraudsters are waiting to prey on vulnerable people looking to save cash or make a little extra to ease the struggle.
There are 4 types of scams the public are specifically being warned about:
- Tax Scams – About 2.1 million tax credits customers are expected to renew their annual claims by 31st July. Criminals will mimic government messages to make them appear authentic in their phone calls, texts and emails. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) says scammers may try to threaten people about non-existent tax bills, or they may try to tempt them with ‘tax rebates’. Scammers may also claim there is an issue with the person’s national insurance (NI) number or direct debit. HMRC suggests searching gov.uk for genuine information and guidance.
- Insurance Scams – Motorists may be tempted by supposedly cheap insurance deals – particularly young drivers, who often pay more for their insurance and may be inexperienced at buying cover. Insurance giant Aviva has warned people to watch out for offers from unsolicited or unusual sources – particularly if it’s via social media or word of mouth. ‘Ghost brokers’ pretend to be genuine brokers offering car insurance. Policies are bought through legitimate companies but using false information. They are then doctored and sold on. It’s often only when someone claims that they realise the policy isn’t valid. People can check a broker’s status on the Financial Conduct Authority or British Insurance Brokers’ Association websites, or contact insurers directly.
- Holiday Scams – Holidaymakers may be looking to cut their costs on getaways, but it’s worth remembering that Action Fraud figures show victims of holiday and travel-related fraud lose £1,868 on average. Action Fraud suggests people check whether firms are members of ABTA – look for any slight changes to the website you are viewing, such the domain name going from .co.uk to .org – and do a thorough online search for reviews to see if anyone else has had problems with the company.
- Bogus Rebates – Fraudsters may try to exploit people struggling to cope with rising energy bills too. There have been reports of criminals calling people to obtain their bank details, claiming to be officials who need them to process council tax rebates to help people deal with the rise in living costs. The public are urged to end these types of calls immediately and report to Action Fraud.
Beware of this scam BT direct debit email
BT is being impersonated by scammers in an email that asks you to change your direct debit details.
As fraudulent emails go, this is a convincing one. It includes BT’s branding, logo and even BT’s customer service phone number. However, the link behind the button directs you to a fake website.
If you receive a message out of the blue about payment details, please always check with your provider directly before you click.
See what the email looks like and what to do if you receive one.