ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre.

They provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime.

Click here to download a leaflet about Action Fraud

Government Grant Fraud

Individuals and businesses are being warned to watch out for cold calls and online contact from fraudsters who are offering victims the opportunity to apply for Government grants for an advance fee. To make the grants look legitimate fraudsters have set up bogus companies and convincing looking websites that claim to be operating on behalf of the UK Government. Fraudsters cold call businesses and individuals offering the grant and if they’re interested direct them to fill out an online application form with their personal information. Once the fraudsters have that information they’ll contact back victims and congratulate them on being accepted onto the grant programme.   

Pre-paid credit cards

 Applicants are then asked to provide identification and are instructed to get a pre-paid credit card to deposit their own contribution to the fake Government grant scheme. Fraudsters will then contact victims on the phone or are emailed and asked for the details of their pre-paid credit card and copies of statements to in order for them to add the grant funds.

 Of course the grant funds are never given by the fraudsters and the money that’s been loaded by the victim onto the card is stolen.

 If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately and report it to us. We’ve already taken down one website fraudsters have been using to commit this fraud and are working with Companies House to combat this issue.

 How to protect yourself

 Be wary of unsolicited callers implying that you can apply for grants. You should never have to pay to receive a government grant, and they definitely won’t instruct you to obtain a pre-paid credit card. The government should have all the information they need if a genuine grant application was submitted, therefore any requests for personal or banking information either over the phone or online should be refused.

What to do if you’re a victim: 

  •  If you think your bank or personal details have been compromised or if you believe you have been defrauded contact your bank immediately.
  • Stop all communication with the ‘agency’ but make a note of their details and report it to Action Fraud.
  • If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
           

Fake Adverts Warning

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently noticed that Fraudsters have been setting up fake adverts on social media (including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and job browsing websites to dupe people into believing they are recruiting for prospective models.

Once victims show interest in the job, the fraudsters contact potential victims on the false promise of a modelling career and subsequently advise the victims to come in for a test shoot.

The fraud can then potentially be carried out in two ways;

Firstly, the fraudsters can pressurise the victims in sending an upfront fee to book a slot for the test shoot. Once they have received the upfront fee, the victim will never hear from the fraudsters again.

The second possible method is that the fraudsters will take the advance fee that the victim sends for a photo shoot and arrange a photo shoot with the victim. After the photo shoot, the fraudsters will contact the victim after a few days and convince them that their shoot was successful and offer them a job as a model. The victim will then be asked to sign a contract and pay another upfront fee, usually to secure the modelling contract.

Fraudsters are also creating fake adverts for supposed modelling opportunities for children which do not exist. Fraudsters will inform parents or guardians that a potential career in modelling awaits their child. This tactic convinces the parent or guardian to sign up their child and send an advance fee.

The suspects will also convince the victim that in order to become a model, they will need to have a portfolio. The fraudsters will recommend a number of packages and stress that if a package is not paid for in advance, the process of becoming a model cannot continue.

Over a two year period (September 2015 – August 2017), an average of 28 reports of advance fee modelling frauds have been received per month by the NFIB. In August 2017, 49 Action Fraud reports of this fraud type were received and may continue to rise. The total loss in August 2017 alone was over £71,000.
 

Tips for staying safe:

  • Carry out your own research prior to paying any type of advance or upfront fee.
     
  • Be wary if you are asked to pay for a portfolio, as many legitimate agencies will cover that cost.
     
  • Don't give your bank account details or sensitive information to anyone without carrying out your own research on the relevant agency.
     
  • If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Caller ID Spoofing

ACTION FRAUD on Caller ID “Spoofing”

The scam “cold Callers” have a new and significant weapon in their armoury.  It’s a disturbing development which enables a scam caller to realistically claim to be a bank security official alerting the victim that there is evidence of tampering with their bank account.
Not entirely convinced, a victim challenged the caller for an ID and was able to convince the victim that they were an authentic bank official (in this case Santander).     When asked by the victim “How do I know you are the bank security official ?” –   the caller asked for the victim’s mobile no. and said he’d call back with evidence. With this next call he was able to display on the Caller ID the same phone no that was on the victim’s Santander Bank Card.
The victim still had doubts but was persuaded  by this and the confident handling (a quiet Scottish accent who knew the name of the victim and readily volunteered his own name). The victim then followed instructions to transfer funds to a new Sort Code and Account no. supplied by the fake “bank official”.

In all, some £50,000 was speedily transferred out of the victim’s account. The victim, having some later qualms too late, called Santander and established that the named person was not a member of their staff. The incident is still being investigated by the police and Santander has not undertaken to compensate fully for the recovery of the lost funds.

Help protect yourself from this kind of fraud take precautions as follows :

  • Your bank will never discuss this kind of transaction over the phone.  
  • Before you commit to transferring any funds as requested, you should make a separate call to your known phone number contact with the bank to confirm the authenticity of the caller.  
  • When you do this, firstly ensure that your phone line is clear of the caller (i.e. that you have a proper dialling tone) or use another phone / mobile to ensure you are making proper contact with your bank.

Remember, if you have any doubts about the caller’s authenticity, break off phone contact and carry out your own checks as recommended above.

Click Here to view Caller ID Number Spoofing  Action Fraud Leaflet

Vehicle Online Shopping Fraud

Fraudsters have been advertising vehicles and machinery for sale on various selling platforms online. The victims, after communicating via email with the fraudster, will receive a bogus email which purports to be from an established escrow provider (a third party who will keep the payment until the buying and selling parties are both happy with the deal).

These emails are designed to persuade victims to pay upfront, via bank transfer, before visiting the seller to collect the goods. The emails also claim that the buyer (victim) has 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.

Protect yourself:

  • When making a large purchase such as a new car or machinery, always meet the seller face to face first and ask to see the goods before transferring any money.
  • If you receive a suspicious email asking for payment, check for spelling, grammar, or any other errors, and check who sent the email. If in doubt, check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller.
  • Contact the third party the fraudsters are purporting to be using to make the transaction. They should be able to confirm whether the email you have received is legitimate or not.
  • False adverts often offer vehicles or machinery for sale well below market value to entice potential victims; always be cautious. If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Smishing by Text

Smishing – the term used for SMS phishing – is an activity which enables criminals to steal victims’ money or identity, or both, as a result of a response to a text message. Smishing uses your mobile phone (either a smartphone or traditional non-internet connected handset) to manipulate innocent people into taking various actions which can lead to being defrauded.
 
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received information that fraudsters are targeting victims via text message, purporting to be from their credit card provider, stating a transaction has been approved on their credit card.
 
The text message further states to confirm if the transaction is genuine by replying ‘Y’ for Yes or ‘N’ for No. 
 
Through this method the fraudster would receive confirmation of the victim’s active telephone number and would be able to engage further by asking for the victim’s credit card details, CVV number (the three digits on the back of your bank card) and/or other personal information.
 
Protect yourself:

  • Always check the validity of the text message by contacting your credit card provider through the number provided at the back of the card or on the credit card/bank statement.
  • Beware of cold calls purporting to be from banks and/or credit card providers.
  • If the phone call from the bank seems suspicious, hang up the phone and wait for 10 minutes before calling the bank back. Again, refer to the number at the back of the card or on the bank statement in order to contact your bank.
  • If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or alternatively by calling 0300 123 2040