The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has been alerted to a pension scam whereby cold callers continue to target members of the public aged 50 to 60 years old to release and transfer their pension early. Suspected firms who advertise and arrange pensions are offering investments in alternative commodities such as hotel developments or property in Cape Verde, and operate as unregulated collective investment schemes. Often, the cold calling ‘pension companies’ involved are neither regulated nor qualified to give financial advice and classify themselves as a ‘trustee’, ‘consultant’ or an ‘independent advisor’ and offer exceptionally high return rates for investors. Some victims have signed documents that authorises a limited company to be set up using their personal details, including utilising a Small Self–Administered Scheme (SSAS). Whilst SSAS accounts and limited companies are essential for legitimate schemes, the fact that victims are unaware that this will happen suggests that the scheme may not have been fully explained to them, increasing the likelihood that there may be an element of fraud involved. Protect yourself: Further advice can be found at: http://www.fca.org.uk/your-fca/documents/protect-your-pension-pot http://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/financial-services-products/pensions/protect http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/individuals/dangers-of-pension-scams.aspx Ensure that you request that the risks and growth rates are explained and that you fully understand them before transferring your pension Check whether the pension arrangement company is registered with the FCA. Registered companies can be checked using the FCA register online at: https://register.fca.org.uk/ Remember that if the offer seems too good to be true, then it generally is If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040
Fraudsters have been phoning victims telling them that they have been placed in the wrong council tax bracket for a number of years and are entitled to a rebate. They normally say that this rebate should be worth about £7,000. Once the victim is convinced, the fraudster tells them that in order to receive the rebate they will need to pay an administration fee in advance. The payment they ask for varies between £60–£350. The victim provides the details and makes the payment, but then is no longer able to make contact with the person they spoke to on the phone. When they phone their council about the rebate and the fact that they are in the wrong tax bracket, the council will confirm that they know nothing about it and that they have been contacted by fraudsters. The fraudsters have mainly been targeting both male and female victims who are aged 60 and over and live in the Sussex area, but it is likely that the fraudsters will also start to target victims in other areas. Protect Yourself:  Never respond to unsolicited phone calls. Your local council won’t ever phone out-of-the-blue to discuss a council tax rebate. If you receive a call of this nature, put the phone down straight away. No legitimate organisation will ask you to pay an advanced fee in order to receive money, so never give them your card details. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, hang up the phone and wait five minutes to clear the line as fraudsters sometimes keep the line open. Then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud. Where it is possible use a different phone line to make the phone call. If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.
COUNCIL TAX SCAM
PENSION SCAM
WHITE GOODS SCAM
This is an update to a previous alert sent from Action Fraud in November 2015. Fraudsters are setting up high specification websites advertising various electrical goods and domestic appliances. These goods are below market value and do not exist. The website will state you can pay via card; however when the purchaser goes to pay, this option is not available and the payment must be made via bank transfer. The fraudster entices the purchaser and reassures them it is a legitimate purchase by using the widely recognised Trusted Shop Trustmark. They then use the Trustmark fraudulently and provide a link on the bogus electrical website to another bogus website (which purports to be Trusted Shops). This website shows a fake certificate purporting to be from Trusted Shops and provides thousands of reviews for the bogus electrical website. These reviews are all fraudulent. The website has not been certified by Trusted Shops and therefore the purchaser is not covered by the Trusted Shop money-back guarantee. Protect yourself:  Check the authenticity of the website before making any purchases. Conduct a ‘Whois’ search on the website which will identify when the website has been created- Be wary of newly formed domains. You can conduct this search using the following website – https://who.is/  Conduct online research in relation to the website, company name and the business address provided to identify any poor feedback or possible irregularities. Check the Trusted Shops Facebook page where warnings about websites using their Trustmark are published. If you are in doubt about the legitimacy of a Trustmark then you can contact Trusted Shops on 0203 364 5906 or by email service@trustedshops.co.uk. They will confirm whether they have certified that website. Payments made via bank transfer are not protected should you not receive the item. Therefore always try to make the payment via PayPal or a credit card where you have some payment cover should you not receive your product. If the item advertised seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
FAKE POLICE SCAM
There has been a recent series of incidents whereby fraudsters either phone or attend the home address of elderly members of the public, claiming to be police officers.The fake officer/s will claim that they are investigating a fraud which they believe the elderly person to be a victim of. The fake officer/s will then request the bank cards and personal identification numbers (PIN) of the victim and claim these are needed for investigation purposes. If the first contact was made by a phone call, the fake officer/s will tell the victim that someone will be over to collect the evidence. In one case the victim was instructed to attend their local bank and withdraw all of the money from their account. The suspect was left alone in the victim’s house whilst the victim carried out the instructions.Protect Yourself  Before letting anyone into your home who claims to be from any law enforcement agency, ask to see their identity card and check it by calling 101. Ask if they can attend at a pre-arranged time when a family member or friend can also be present. If you receive a phone call from a police officer, ask for their name and force and tell them you will call them back. Wait a few minutes and then use 101 to call them back through their force’s switchboard and verify their identity. The Police will never ask for your PIN or passwords. Do not give this information to anyone. The Police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them. If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.
FAKE EMAILS FROM HM CUSTOMS
Message sent by: Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National) Fraudsters are sending out virus infected emails that claim a package has been seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom. The official looking scam emails claiming to be from Royal Mail contain a link to a document which will install malicious software on your computer designed to steal credentials like account names, email addresses and passwords. An example email reads: Title: Your parcel has been seized. Royal Mail is sorry to inform you that a package addressed to you was seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.A close inspection deemed your items as counterfeit and the manufacturers have been notified. If your items are declared genuine then they will be returned back to you with the appropriate custom charges. You may have been a victim of counterfeit merchandise and the RM Group UK will notify you on how to get your money back. Please review the attached PDF document for more information. Document (RM7002137GB).Zip.  Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. To help the spread of the virus, the email also says: “you will need to have access to a computer to download and open the Zip file”. If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or download any attachments and report it to Action Fraud. Protect Yourself Royal Mail will never send an email asking for credit card numbers or other personal or confidential information. Royal Mail will never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website. Royal Mail will never include attachments unless the email was solicited by a customer e.g. customer has contacted Royal Mail with an enquiry or has signed up for updates from Royal Mail. Royal Mail have also stressed that they do not receive a person’s email address as part of any home shopping experience. If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone: 0300 123 2040.
DENIAL of SERVICE ATTACKS
Within the past 24 hours a number of businesses throughout the UK have received extortion demands from a group calling themselves ‘Lizard Squad’. Method of Attack:The group have sent emails demanding payment of 5 Bitcoins, to be paid by a certain time and date. The email states that this demand will increase by 5 Bitcoins for each day that it goes unpaid. If their demand is not met, they have threatened to launch a Denial of Service attack against the businesses’ websites and networks, taking them offline until payment is made. The demand states that once their actions have started, they cannot be undone. What to do if you’ve received one of these demands:  Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by using the online reporting tool Do not pay the demand Retain the original emails (with headers) Maintain a timeline of the attack, recording all times, type and content of the contact If you are experiencing a DDoS right now you should:  Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 immediately. Call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) (or hosting provider if you do not host your own Web server), tell them you are under attack and ask for help. Keep a timeline of events and save server logs, web logs, email logs, any packet capture, network graphs, reports etc. Get Safe Online top tips for protecting your business from a DDoS:  Consider the likelihood and risks to your organisation of a DDoS attack, and put appropriate threat reduction/mitigation measures in place. If you consider that protection is necessary, speak to a DDoS prevention specialist. Whether you are at risk of a DDoS attack or not, you should have the hosting facilities in place to handle large, unexpected volumes of website hits.
ACTION FRAUD REPORTS
NATIONAL POLICE NEWS & ADVICE
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Cybercrime Police Scam White Goods Scam Customs Scam Council Tax Scam University Scam E-mail Scam Safer Jobs Pension Scam Denial of Service Attacks Cheque Scam Vehicle Scam Olympics Scam Booking Scam New Telephone Scam
Dorset Litton Cheney in the Bride Valley