Article (1) Date 4/02/2016
Scams & Suspect Traders
round-up of some recent notifications
It seems that there is always someone trying to relieve you of your hard earned money & possessions. To help avoid becoming a victim make sure that anti-virus packages on your PC or smartphone are up to date, if you receive unsolicited phone calls hang up without giving any information and if you have cold callers at your door say ‘No thanks’ & close the door.
In addition to the two scams recently publicized on Essex Community Messaging I’ve listed some of the common scams that are also being used at present. While some are obviously false others are quite convincing at first sight.
- Phishing scam Email received stating that ‘your account has been compromised / your security details need updating’ or ‘You have won a £xxx prize’ with a request to click on a link to update or provide information. There is often the threat that your account will be closed if you do not take action. Clicking on the link and giving the information can lead to financial loss or identity theft or download programs that may intercept personal information (Malware) or lock your computer until a fee is paid (Ransomware).
This type of email often appears genuine as it will have the company logo and correct postal addresses etc. However, if you hover your cursor over the ‘from’ on the email the address shown will not be the company you expect.
Some of the company names the scammers have used – all the High Street Banks, Credit Card companies, BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Tesco, Vodaphone, Sky, EE, HMRC, Amazon, PayPal, Royal Mail, DHL and many more
- HMRC, & Local Councils – ‘You are due a refund of Income Tax or Council Tax, click on the link to reclaim’. Again, clicking on the link and giving information can lead to financial loss or identity theft or download programs that may intercept personal information (Malware).
If you receive these types of email, please forward them to the security department of the company it is meant to be from. I have included a list of some useful links at the end of this document.
- The caller claims to be from ‘Windows Security’ or ‘Microsoft’ and claims that a virus has been detected on your computer. They say that they can fix it if given remote access and explain how to give them your IP address (this is the unique id of your computer). They are then able to access your computer to gain your information or download malware or ransomware. This scam often ends with a demand for money to release control of your computer. The best way of dealing with this type of call is just to hang up without giving any information.
- The caller claims to be from your Phone, Broadband or Satellite provider and says that you are due a refund. You are asked to either confirm your banking details, amend your online account or contact your bank with details they supply. Doing this can result in financial loss
Some of the company names used by the scammers - BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Vodaphone, Sky, EE
The best way to deal with this type of call is not to get involved in any discussion, don’t give any information, just hang up.
A number of reputable charities use door to door fundraising. Their representatives will carry photo ID and are often dressed in branded clothing. They will be happy for you to call a number at their headquarters to confirm their ID and that they are genuine callers. If you have access to the internet the charity will probably have details on their website of the areas being canvassed. Among the charities using door to door canvassing are Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, British Red Cross, RSPCA, British Heart Foundation. These organizations should not be confused with those shown below
- “Nottingham Knockers” – so named as they were first identified operating in Nottingham. Their sales pitch usually is: - ‘I’m an ex-convict working with the police/ probation office/local council trying to go straight by selling goods door to door….’ The goods are usually low quality and overpriced. They may show an I.D., this will not have been issued by any council or the police.
- Cold calling Builders claiming that work is needed on your roof / property. If an estimate is given the final bill tends to be much higher. They apply pressure to pay up front or take the owner to their bank to withdraw cash.
If you are thinking of having any work done our suggestion is to get a detailed estimate from more than one builder of your choice before agreeing to any work being started. Further advice on dealing with suspect traders is given on the Essex Police website at http://www.essex.police.uk/be_safe/rogue_traders.aspx
If you are cold called by any suspect trader our advice is not to engage in conversation and just close the door. Do not agree to any work being done and do not hand over any money. Let the Police know your concerns by calling the non-emergency number 101, or in an emergency dial 999.
- Congratulations! You have won £ xxxxxxx in the Anyplace Lottery. To release the funds please send an administrative fee to …
Ask yourself – have I bought a ticket? No? Then I can’t have won. If you send money for the administrative fee this invariably leads to further requests for money – and ‘winning’ notifications from other competitions you haven’t entered.
If you receive this sort of mail throw it in the recycling bin.
Who to contact if you receive scam or phishing e-mails
Banks & Credit Cards
Alliance & Leicester email@example.com
American Express firstname.lastname@example.org
Bank Safe Online via www.BankSafeOnline.org.uk
Lloyds TSB email@example.com
PayPal via www.paypal.com
TD Bank Financial Group firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Useful Contacts
Action Fraud email@example.com
Action Fraud www.actionfraud.police.uk
BT (British Telecom) firstname.lastname@example.org
Companies House email@example.com
Cyber Crime Website www.cyberstreetwise.com
Foreign Email scams firstname.lastname@example.org
Microsoft (including Hotmail, Live, Outlook) http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/outlook/abuse-phishing-junk-email
Office of Fair Trading scam line email@example.com
TalkTalk via www.talktalk.co.uk