Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Creating safer, stronger and active communities

What is a Scam?

Scams are crimes where the perpetrator tries to swindle the victim out of money, or out of personal information with a view to stealing their money later. Scam is a slang term for personal fraud.  All scams are frauds.

It is estimated that around £10 billion is lost each year in the UK by victims of scams.

Age UK reports that 43% of older people – almost five million people aged 65 and over – believe they have been targeted by scammers. Those with dementia are at particular risk.

Scams can be committed over the phone, through the post, on the internet or face-to-face, often on the doorstep.

Because older people are more likely to live on their own, and are often lonely, they become targets for fraudsters. Age UK reports that in one study, it was found that 27% of single people responded to a scam, compared with less than a tenth of their married counterparts. In England, the number of people over 65 living on their own is expected to rise from 3.5 million in 2015 to just under five million by 2030, and the number of people with dementia is projected to rise from 850,000 now to 1.14 million by 2025.  This means that in future, significantly more older people could be at risk from being scammed.

STATISTICS

Estimated sum lost each year to scams

10bn

People over 65 who have been targeted by scammers

5m

Proportion of scams that are ever reported

5%
 

For some people, their only form of social contact is with commercial organisations, legitimate or fraudulent.  They might receive telemarketing calls, emails or letters, or open the door to a scammer purporting to be a bona fide salesman or tradesman.  Sometimes strong relationships can develop between scammers and their elderly victims, if a high level of contact is maintained.  The average age of victims of mass-marketing postal fraud is 75.

And, once people realise they have been scammed, they often feel ashamed to have been duped and so will seldom report what has happened.  It is estimated that only 5% of these crimes are ever reported.

Once a person falls victim to one con artist, their personal details are often added to what is known as “suckers lists” and sold onto other criminals, so they are targeted again and again.

The impact can be devastating – people who have been defrauded in their own homes are two and a half times more likely to die or go into residential care within a year.

Take Five

T5 StopFraud

Take Five is a national campaign that offers advice to help consumers prevent financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud– particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations. Take Five is backed by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) part of UK Finance, HMG via the Home Office and a range of partners including banks, building societies, law enforcement agencies, commercial, public and Third Sector organisations. By working together banks, the financial industry, Government and consumers can help to stop fraud.

 

 

Read more: Take Five

Better Internet Security

Domain Name Systems (DNS) are like public phone books for the web. They’re the reason you only need to remember a website’s name and not its IP address (think of these as phone numbers for computers). When you type “www.youtube.com” into a browser, a DNS service translates that into the associated IP address (199.223.232.0) for you.

Imagine a phone book that automatically filters and removes phone numbers known to be used for fraud. That’s what Quad9 does for websites. Quad9 provides an automated way to protect yourself and your business by blocking access to known malicious websites, like phishing sites designed to steal personal or banking details.


Quad9 checks the website to determine if it’s malicious.

Visit Quad9.net for a step-by-step guide on how to improve your online security in two minutes.

 

Message Sent By
Action Fraud

Phishing Emails

Fraudsters are sending out a high volume of phishing emails to personal and business email addresses, pretending to come from various email addresses, which have been compromised.
The subject line contains the recipient’s name, and the main body of text is as below:

 

  “Hi, [name]!
 
I am disturbing you for a very serious reason. Although we are not familiar, but I have significant amount of individual info concerning you. The thing is that, most likely mistakenly, the data of your account has been emailed to me.
 
For instance, your address is:
 
[real home address]
 
I am a law-abiding citizen, so I decided to personal data may have been hacked. I attached the file – [surname].dot that I received, that you could explore what info has become obtainable for scammers. File password is – 2811
 
Best Wishes,”
 
The emails include an attachment – a ‘.dot’ file usually titled with the recipient’s name.
 This attachment is thought to contain the Banking Trojan Ursniff/Gozi, hidden within an image in the document. The Ursniff Banking Trojan attempts to obtain sensitive data from victims, such as banking credentials and passwords. The data is subsequently used by criminals for monetary gain.

 


Protect Yourself:
 

Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always prevent your device(s) from becoming infected.   Please consider the following actions:

 

  • Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages: Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication (you can find out how by searching the internet for relevant advice for your email provider).
  • Do not enable macros in downloads; enabling macros will allow Trojan/malware to be installed onto your device.
  • Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It is important that the device you back up to is not connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that as well.
  • If you think your bank details have been compromised, you should contact your bank immediately.
If you have been affected by this or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk

Payment Diversion Alert

Fraudsters are emailing members of the public who are expecting to make a payment for property repairs. The fraudsters will purport to be a tradesman who has recently completed work at the property and use a similar email address to that of the genuine tradesman. They will ask for funds to be transferred via bank transfer. Once payment is made the victims of the scam soon realise they have been deceived when the genuine tradesman requests payment for their services. Protect yourself

  • Always check the email address is exactly the same as previous correspondence with the genuine contact.
  • For any request of payment via email verify the validity of the request with a phone call to the person who carried out the work.
  • Check the email for spelling and grammar as these signs can indicate that the email is not genuine.
  • Payments via bank transfer offer no financial protection; consider using alternative methods such as a credit card or PayPal which offer protection and an avenue for recompense.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.