Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Creating safer, stronger and active communities

Good Neighbours - Scams

Hello Everyone

Unfortunately quite a lot of scams have come to our notice recently, making this potentially a rather long email.

You may be interested in the website ‘Have I been pwned’ (that’s correct, not my dodgy spelling) brought to my attention by the Cyber Protect Coordinator with the Police. If you put your email address into their search tool it will check the database to see if your email information has been breached. I have checked a number of email addresses here, both for myself and others and have found quite a few have been subject to data breaches by online organisations. If your email has been breached it is advisable to change your password, but the website will give you information as to what data has been stolen and whether it has been subject to a ‘paste’. This is where criminals add the details they’ve stolen to a shared space so that other criminals also have your personal details. Fortunately I have not found anyone who has been affected by a paste.

I have included below an Action Fraud warning regarding a ‘sexting’ scam which is extremely alarming for those receiving it. Please do not panic if you get one of these emails, they are unfortunately getting all the more common. You may notice that the fraudster would like paying in bitcoin. The other payment methods popular with scammers is bank transfer and vouchers, such as iTunes. These payment methods are very hard to trace so be wary of anyone asking for payment these ways.

A solar panel scam recently reported to us runs something like this; an unexpected call from a company who claim that the installer of your solar panels has gone into liquidation and they had taken over responsibility. They ask to visit (at no cost) to check the safety of the installation, then ‘find’ that you need a replacement inverter. The resident who reported this scam luckily called their original installer to check. The genuine company (who had not gone into administration or liquidation) were aware of similar scams where such firms get access to an installation and then claim, wrongly, that the installation is faulty. They then install a more expensive inverter (charged to the householder) and also sell on the original perfectly good inverter.

We have also been alerted by a resident who placed an advert on Gumtree. A person who responded to the ad sent a fake PayPal confirmation of payment via email. If you sell goods online please double check your account balance to ensure the money has really been paid into your account and do not supply any goods before payment.

eCops have been warning about fake texts from ‘Argos’. The Argos text scam (more details here) claims that you have a refund owing. It will direct you to a website, often a good copy of the genuine site, which is designed to trick you into giving away personal and financial information.

 Kind Regards

Elaine Mountfort

Community Protection Officer

People and Communities Directorate

Police Impersonator Scam

Please be vigilant
Cambridgeshire County Council’s Community Protection Team are warning of a police impersonator scam running in Cambridgeshire. The scam involves fraudsters phoning individuals pretending to be a police officer and asking them to withdraw money from their bank accounts as part of an undercover investigation. Warning! Your bank and the police will never ask you to withdraw cash, reveal your PIN number or passwords or purchase high value goods that will then be collected from your home.
Watch out for the call-back trick! Sometimes the scammers will suggest you call your bank or the police to confirm their details but what they do is stay on the line when you hang up to prevent the call being terminated. Therefore you think you are speaking to someone genuine from the bank or police when it is actually still the criminals. Top Tip: Always use another phone or wait at least 10 minutes before making a call to check a caller’s authenticity.
If you believe you or a family member has been a victim of fraud please call the police on 101.
If you are concerned about a phone call or doorstep caller please contact the consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Elaine Mountfort
Community Protection Officer
People and Communities Directorate
Telephone: 01954 286006 or 07810153604
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good Neighbours Update December 2017

I've been made of aware of just a few things to watch out for recently that I thought would be worth sharing with you; 65% of Action Fraud reports during the 2016 Christmas period were linked to online auction sites. Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud. Action Fraud are also warning about the ‘PayPal’ fake email that tells you that your account has been suspended – do not click on the box to ‘confirm account’. It is also worth knowing that @action_fraud_uk is a FAKE account, the real Action Fraud is working to get them shut down as this account is not verified and is hijacking conversations and asking for personal information.

Individuals and businesses are being warned by E-Cops 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. 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.

We have been notified by quite a number of residents that the phone scam claiming to be from HMRC is doing the rounds at the moment. The calls can be quite upsetting as they claim that you have a court action against you. Some people have had messages left saying that they are in ‘a lot of trouble’. Please be aware of this scam and don’t panic if you get this call. The advice we give is ‘Keep Calm and Hang Up’. You could ask your service provider to block the number they are calling from too. You can dial 1471 after the call to find the last number that called you and spam texts can be forwarded to 7726 (which spells SPAM on your phone keypad).

Sutton Police Dept. (USA) have put out a facebook warning as follows: ‘Please be aware of some of the posts you comment on. Beware of the ones who ask your favourite teachers name, your childhood best friend, where you were born, favourite place, first pet, where you went on your first flight? Posted as ‘getting to know you’ questions, these are the same security questions asked when setting up accounts and you are giving out the answers to your security questions without realising it. Hackers can then build a profile of you from several different data sources and they can then use this information to open accounts or lines of credit in your name.’ I’ve seen these questions myself so this is clearly a UK issue too, though I hadn’t realised at the time!

 

All that remains is for me to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Kind Regards

Elaine Mountfort

Community Protection Officer

People and Communities Directorate

Telephone: 01954 286006 or 07810153604

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good Neighbours Update

Hello again Everyone

 We have been informed of several scams where payment is requested by iTune cards or vouchers. ITunes have a warning on their page as follows:

‘A string of scams are taking place asking people to make payments over the phone for things such as taxes, hospital bills, bail money, debt collection, and utility bills. The scams are committed using many methods, including gift cards. As the fraudsters are sometimes using iTunes Gift Cards, we want to make sure our customers are aware of these scams.

Regardless of the reason for payment, the scam follows a certain formula: The victim receives a call instilling panic and urgency to make a payment by purchasing iTunes Gift Cards from the nearest retailer (convenience store, electronics retailer, etc.). After the cards have been purchased, the victim is asked to pay by sharing the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the caller over the phone.

It's important to know that iTunes Gift Cards can be used ONLY to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership. If you're approached to use the cards for payment outside of the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music, you could very likely be the target of a scam and should immediately report it to Action Fraud.’

Along similar lines, Amazon have put out this warning:

Amazon UK customers have again been targeted by a new email scam that attempts to access their personal accounts through the promise of a £50 gift card.

A fresh batch of fake emails offering a voucher for amazon.co.uk have been circling the inboxes of their UK customer base. 

This is the second time in under a month that British users of the world’s leading e-commerce company have been the recipient of phishing emails.

Last month Amazon users were subjected to an attempted trick that claimed there was a problem with a recent order from the shopping site.

This time around customers are thanked for their loyalty before being invited to click a link that reveals the remainder of a code which will entitle them to £50 of online store credit.

EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS

This scam email has been arriving in some customer's inboxes

Clicking on the hyperlink connects the visitor to a fraudulent third-party phishing site instructing them to complete a quick survey about their customer experience with Amazon. 

However, each time you click on the link to “reveal the full code”, you are connected to a different survey site, which then in turn offers a reward and not the gift card as promised.

This latest scam comes after fraudulent emails had been distributed to Apple iPhone users and Netflix subscribers, as well as one claiming to be from HMRC.

Amazon does offer advice on its website to help customers identify fake emails or phishing attempts. 

Genuine%20e-mails%20come%20from%20an%20e-mail%20address%20ending%20in%20%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">“Genuine e-mails come from an e-mail address ending in "@amazon.com", “@amazon.lu” or “@amazon.co.uk”."

Finally, I have also been hearing about a number of residents suffering from ‘Ransomware’ where a pop-up appears on your computer screen claiming that your computer is infected by a virus (often this is ‘scareware’ and it isn’t really!). Please do not call the number or pay, a local gentleman lost £300 to these scammers. To protect yourselves from this take a look at the ‘Get Safe Online (GSO)’ website. However the GSO top three ways to protect yourself are using strong passwords, installing anti-virus software (up to date and turned on) and installing system updates as soon as possible. If everyone took these simple steps GSO claim it would cut 80% of computer scams, and it is easy to follow advice.

Keep well and enjoy Christmas shopping, 

Kind Regards

Elaine Mountfort

Community Protection Officer

People and Communities Directorate

 

Telephone: 01954 286006 or 07810153604

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good Neighbours Update

These updates are from the Community Protection Team

If you have had an accident which you have reported please be aware if someone contacts you regarding compensation. It is easy to assume that this person is from the organisation you have been in contact with, particularly as they may know many details of the accident. Several people have recently mentioned that they have been contacted this way and one was asked to go to a supermarket to buy £225 worth of iTunes vouchers in order for the compensation to be released. You will be happy to hear that in this instance the person in question realised it was a scam before spending the money.

If you are a small (or large!) business owner please be aware of the postal scam where you are contacted and asked to update your details for a database, eg VAT details for the UK Corporate Portal. When you respond you are actually signing up to a contract. The letter suggests that there is no charge but beware, there is, the details are well hidden in a jargon-filled letter. Also watch out for another email claiming to originate from Companies House regarding a complaint against your business, the subject line may contact a case reference as well. We are told that there is a virus embedded within this email that will infect the machine upon opening,