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4 scams to look out for

1st March 2017

Action Fraud is highlighting the latest scams based on reports from the public assessed and analysed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

New anti-virus activation scam

Reports suggest that fraudsters are exploiting victims who are unfamiliar with activating or renewing antivirus software.

After buying brand new computers victims have reported being been unable to activate their antivirus software subscription, which led them to following links to fake antivirus websites. After entering contact information, victims have been called by fraudsters who ask for payment to install the anti-virus. This method has also been used by fraudsters when victims have attempted to renew their antivirus subscription.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax rebate scams

Victims have received phishing emails/texts purporting to be from HMRC about tax rebates. After either downloading a file attached to the emails or clicking on a link, devices have been infected with Dridex (a type of banking malware) or Locky ransomware (which locks devices and demands a ransom) from a hacked website.

When victims click on the link in the HMRC spoofed texts they are redirected to a registration page requesting personal details. The emails and texts appear genuine and the victims who have provided their personal details have consequently had direct debits, mobile phone contracts and new bank accounts set up using their personal information. HMRC would never contact people using these methods.

Parking fine letters

Victims have been receiving letters from scammers claiming to be the police/parking authorities informing them they have been spotted illegally parking and have to pay a fine.  

This also includes victims receiving penalty notices for hired vehicles contracted in their names. In most of these cases the victim’s identity has been stolen. Check out how to prevent this happening. 

Wine investment fraud and recovery

The NFIB’s Investment Fraud Team is anticipating that wine investments and wine recovery will become a commodity sold by boiler rooms again after analysing intelligence from several reports. 

Recovery Room fraud is a method where criminals contact victims of previous frauds, often by cold calling, and claim to be able to recover previously lost funds for an upfront, advance fee. When Recovery Room fraudsters contact victims of wine investment fraud they will usually claim to be a legal professional such as an insolvency practitioner or a representative of another investment firm. 

Last year, victims of investment fraud lost on average £32,000 as fraudsters employed increasingly advanced psychological tactics to persuade victims to invest.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is urging over 55s to check investment opportunities are genuine before they part with their money. This comes as new research, commissioned as part of the FCA’s ScamSmart campaign, reveals that only 42% of people think they know how to spot a fraudulent investment opportunity.

Report fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud and receive a police crime reference number.

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