Fraud and scams

Criminals are using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam the public – don’t become a victim.

Law enforcement, government and private sectors partners are working together to encourage members of the public to be more vigilant against fraud, particularly about sharing their financial and personal information, as criminals seek to capitalise on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police.

They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

Online Shopping and Auction Fraud 

Seek advice: If you’re purchasing goods and services from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask friends or family for advice before completing a purchase.

Scam messages: Be wary of unsolicited emails and texts offering questionably good deals, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.

Payment method: Avoid paying for good and services by bank transfer as that offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or payment services such as PayPal.

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank as soon as possible, they can help you prevent any further losses. Monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

Computer Software Service Fraud

Installing software: Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer, as a result of a cold call.

Financial details: Genuine organisations would never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.

Tech support: If you need tech support, ask your friends or family for recommendations and look for reviews online first. Don’t contact companies promoting tech support services via browser pop-ups.

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank as soon as possible, they can help you prevent any further losses. Monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

If you granted remote access to your computer: Seek technical support to remove any unwanted software from your computer. Ask your friends or family for recommendations and look for reviews online first. Don’t contact companies promoting tech support services via browser pop-ups.

Lender Loan Fraud 

Seek advice first: Speak with a trusted friend or family members first if you’re using a loan company you’re unfamiliar with, or if the lender requires an up-front fee.

Scam messages: Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.

FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money.

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank as soon as possible, they can help you prevent any further losses. Monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

Pension Liberation Fraud 

Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into making a transaction on the spot.

Seek advice first: Before making significant financial decisions, speak with trusted friends or family members, or seek professional independent advice. The Pension Advisory Service (PAS) also provides free independent and impartial information and guidance.

FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money.

Tax charges: Ensure sure you are aware of any tax charges (up to 70%), plus other fees, that will be deducted from the amount you withdraw before making any decisions. 

Investment Fraud

Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into making a transaction on the spot.

Seek advice first: Speak with a trusted friend or family members, and seek independent professional advice before making significant financial decisions.

FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money.

Mandate Fraud (Businesses)

Verify: If you receive a request to move money into a new bank account, contact the supplier directly using established contact details, to verify and corroborate the payment request.

Internal processes: Establish robust internal processes for handling changes to payment details. For example, only designated employees should be able to make changes to payment arrangements.

Sensitive information: Invoices, payment mandates, and other documents containing sensitive financial information should be stored securely and only be accessible to those staff that need them to perform their duties. Sensitive documents should be shredded before they are disposed of.

If you have made a payment: Inform your bank as soon as possible, they can help you prevent any further losses. Monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.

Avoid and report internet scams and phishing

Report misleading websites, emails, phone numbers, phone calls or text messages you think may be suspicious.

Do not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.

Misleading websites, emails and phone numbers

Some websites, emails or phone numbers can look like they’re part of an official government service or that they provide more help than they actually do.

This might mean you pay for services that you could get cheaper or for free if you used the official government service, for example renewing a passport.

Search on GOV.UK to find official government services and phone numbers - for example if you want to apply for a driving licence or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

You can report a misleading website, email or phone number to:

  • Action Fraud
  • Google if it appears as an advert in their search results
  • Bing if it appears as an advert in their search results

You’ll never get an email, text message or phone call from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which:

  • tells you about a tax rebate or penalty
  • asks for your personal or payment information

Report HMRC phishing emails, texts and phone call scams.

City of London Police fraud team

Straight from the City of London Police fraud team - Extremely sophisticated scam going about this morning. Definitely Danske bank customers but possibly all banks. You get a message saying a payment hasn’t been taken eg O2,Vodafone or EE and to click here. As soon as you touch it the money is gone. They already have all your details and it’s the most advance scam the bank has ever seen.

For more up to date information you can look at Tweets by CityPoliceFraud.