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.
Community Protection Officer
People and Communities Directorate