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Police: Identity fraud reaches record levels

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

A record 172,919 identity frauds were recorded in 2016 more than in any other previous year, according to Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service.

Identity fraud now represents over half of all fraud recorded by the UK’s not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation (53.3% of all frauds recorded to Cifas), of which 88% was perpetrated online.

How fraudsters steal your identity

The vast majority of identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be an innocent individual to buy a product or take out a loan in their name. Often victims do not even realise that they have been targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or they experience problems with their credit rating.

To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters need access to their victim’s personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank and who they hold accounts with. Fraudsters get hold of this in a variety of ways, from stealing mail through to hacking; obtaining data on the ‘dark web’; exploiting...

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Police: Fraudsters target universities in pay rise scam

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

We’re urging university staff to take preventative action following more than 100 reports from victims receiving bogus pay rise emails.

Phishing emails claiming to be from university HR departments are being used by fraudsters in a bid to gather financial details by suggesting that university staff recipients are due a pay rise.

However, when recipients click on the link, they are taken to a fake website where they are asked to enter personal information, including university log in and financial details. Police forces and governmental agencies have also been targeted by similar emails.

Password protect your accounts

We’re now urging university staff to change any passwords associated with their email accounts and IT accounts. Passwords should use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, preferably using random words as opposed to those with personal meaning, such as children’s or pet’s names.

Additionally you should avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails or text...

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Police: Dating fraud victims report once every three hours

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog
  • Reports up 32% over two year period (January 2013-December 2015) according to new figures from City of London Police.
  • An average of £10,000 lost by dating fraud victims in the UK
  • New partnership created to work with the Online Dating Association to reduce the number of people who fall victim.

We’re warning anyone looking for love this Valentine’s Day to beware of fraudsters looking to rid their new partner of their savings. Every day we receive an average of seven reports of dating fraud.

The average victim of dating fraud will make their first transfer of money to the fraudster in less than one month of contact, showing how quickly and easily victims are defrauded. It takes another nine days on average before a victim reports the fraud to us.

How fraudsters use dating websites and apps

Nearly £40 million was lost through dating fraud between 2015 and 2016, with 3,889 reports made in total. However, evidence suggests that this doesn’t accurately represent the true scale of dating fraud due to the...

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Police: Take the Fraud Defence Test and protect yourself

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

With fraud set to become the most prevalent type of crime in England and Wales, we’re urging you to act now to protect yourself from falling victim to fraud and cyber crime.

The Crime Survey of England and Wales, published tomorrow, is likely to indicate fraud and cyber crime now account for close to half of all crime, making you much more likely to be a victim of these crimes than any other. In July 2016, the crime survey indicated 3.8 million frauds and 2 million cyber crimes occurred in the 12 months to the end of March 2016.

How to protect yourself

  1. Sign up to our alert-by-email system to get the latest trending frauds across the country. The alerts are also sent to the 250,000 people who have signed-up to the Neighbourhood Alert System.
  2. Take the Fraud Defence Test. The test, developed by City of London Police and built with funding from the Home Office’s Police Innovation Fund, takes just a couple of minutes and is designed to help you understand how you could become a victim of fraud in relation to your...

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Police: Fake Amazon emails claim you have placed an order

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

Action Fraud has received several reports from victims who have been sent convincing looking emails claiming to be from Amazon.

The spoofed emails from [email protected] claim recipients have made an order online and mimic an automatic customer email notification.  

In one example below, the scam email claims recipients have ordered an expensive vintage chandelier. Other reported examples include; Bose stereos, iPhone’s and luxury watches. 

The emails cleverly state that if recipients haven’t authorised the transaction they can click on the help centre link to receive a full refund. 

The link leads to an authentic-looking website, which asks victims to confirm their name, address, and bank card information.

One victim lost £750

One victim reported entering his Nationwide banking details and later found out £750 had been stolen from his account. 

After the victim notified Nationwide they cancelled the card and refunded the money in full. 

Amazon says that suspicious e-mails will often contain:



Police: “Department of Education” ransomware alert

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

Fraudsters are posing government officials in order to trick people into installing ransomware which encrypts files on victim’s computers. 

Fraudsters are initially cold calling education establishments claiming to be from the “Department of Education”. They then ask to be given the personal email and/or phone number of the head teacher/financial administrator. 

The fraudsters claim that they need to send guidance forms to the head teacher (these so far have varied from exam guidance to mental health assessments). 

The scammers on the phone will claim that they need to send these documents directly to the head teacher and not to a generic school inbox, using the argument that they contain sensitive information.

The emails will include an attachment - a .zip file (potentially masked as an Excel or Word document). This attachment will contain ransomware, that once downloaded will encrypt files and demand money (up to £8,000) to recover the files.

It should be noted that similar scam attempts have been...

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Police: 1 billion Yahoo accounts compromised

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

The compromised accounts appear separate from a 2014 breach disclosed in September, when Yahoo revealed that 500 million accounts had been accessed.

Yahoo has taken steps to secure user accounts and is working closely with law enforcement. 

The internet giant is also notifying potentially affected users and is requiring people to change their passwords.

How to find out if your account has been compromised and how to protect yourself

  • If you think you have been affected change your password and security questions for your online accounts. Use three random words to create a strong password. Numbers and symbols can still be used, however three random words is the key to creating a strong and memorable password.
  • Monitor your account for any suspicious or unexpected activity.
  • Be very wary of any emails purporting to come from Yahoo, particularly if they prompt you to click any links, download any attachments or give out any personal information. 
  • Be wary of anyone calling asking for personal information, bank details or passwords. If in...

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Police: Sophisticated fraud involving convincing bank letters

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

Lloyds customers should be on the lookout for a new sophisticated fraud that involves fraudsters sending fake bank letters. 

The convincing letters being sent are a replica template from Llyods and include their logo, address and signature from a customer service representative.  

The letter tells recipients that there have been some “unusual transactions” on their personal account and asks them to call a number highlighted in bold to confirm they are genuine. 

Automated messages harvesting details

When victims call the number, an automated welcome message is played and the caller is asked to enter their card number, account number and sort code followed by their date of birth.

Victims are then instructed to enter the first and last digit of their security number.

The fraud was spotted by the Daily Telegraph who was alerted to it by a reader who had three identical letters sent to an office address. 

On separate occasions the Daily Telegraph ran some tests using fake details and were passed to fraudsters who...

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Police: Alert: Watch out for Facebook Marketplace fraud

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

Action Fraud is warning people to watch out for fraud on the Facebook Marketplace after receiving reports from victims who have tried to purchase items and never received them. 

Facebook’s Marketplace lets you buy and sell items with people in your community for free. All you have to do to access the Marketplace is tap on the shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app and start searching. 

Unlike rival websites such as eBay there is no secure payment facility such as PayPal or feedback systems in place, which means it is up to buyers and sellers to agree on prices and payment methods.

Caution advised

People using the Marketplace should exercise caution as it is easy for fraudsters to post pictures of items for sale that either do not exist or are counterfeit. 

In all the cases reported to Action Fraud, fraudsters have been offering items for sale and demanding that payment is made by bank transfer. When victims ask if payment can be made through PayPal, a variety of excuses are given as to why they...

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Police: Alert: Fake emails claim you were caught speeding

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

Action Fraud has received thousands of reports about fake emails purporting to be from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) that claim you were caught speeding.

Analysis of the reports shows the emails have been sent by cyber criminals to victims across the UK and not just in the GMP area.

The emails claim that GMP are notifying you about a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and have photographic evidence that you failed to adhere to the speed limit at specific date, time and location.

This is or course not true, but it goes on to say that because you have been named as a driver of the vehicle you have a legal obligation to comply with the provisions of the notice.

The aim of these emails is to get you to click on the link to “check the photographic evidence” which is likely to lead to malware.

NIP’s are never sent by email, they are always sent through the post using a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) registered address.

Fraudsters website shut down

Following enquiries from GMP, the website used to send...

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Latest ActionFraud\'s Blog Stories

Identity fraud reaches record levels
Fraudsters target universities in pay rise scam
Dating fraud victims report once every three hours
Take the Fraud Defence Test and protect yourself
Fake Amazon emails claim you have placed an order

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