Phishing Scams. Be Aware, Be Safe
One role of the Community Council is to share with the local community news of fraudulent activity as its highlighted to us, we’ve recently received a couple of scams which people should be on the look out for, one via email and one via phone. If you know of any vunerable residents who might be at risk of being victim of a fraudulent scam then please make them aware.
Warning - TV Licence Refund Email Notification
North West Scotland Neighbourhood watch along with Action Fraud have reported a recent TV Licence Refund SCAM sent by email and referring to a pending refund. It reads:
“After the last annual calculation we have determined that you are eligible to receive a TV Licensing refund of 72.48 GBP. Due to invalid account details records, we were unable to credit your account. Please submit the TV Licensing refund request and allow 5-10 working days to be credited your account. Click “Refund Me Now” and follow the steps in order to process your request. NOTE: For security reasons, we will record your IP address, the date and time. Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued.”
Bailiff Enforcement Phonecalls
Victims receive a telephone call from someone purporting to be a bailiff enforcing a court judgement, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt. The fraudsters state the debt originates from the victim not paying a magazine advertisement subscription.
A variety of magazine names and publishers are being used by the fraudsters, who also commonly use the names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents such “Scott Davis”, “Stephen King” and “Mark Taylor”. These are names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents employed by debt enforcement companies.
The fraudsters request that the debt be repaid by bank transfer. If the victim refuses, they threaten to visit the victim’s home or place of work to recover the debt that is owed.
Once the money has been transferred, victims are not provided with receipt details of the payment or contact details. Later when victims make enquiries, they’ll discover that the debt did not exist, and often that no advertisement was placed.
This type of fraud is nationwide. Since 2017, there have been 52 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud. From the reports received, there are a range of different businesses and individuals being targeted.
General advice for stay safe
What Is Phishing
Phishing is a type of attack that uses email or a messaging service to fool you into taking an action you should not take, such as clicking on a malicious link, sharing your password, or opening an infected email attachment. Attackers work hard to make these messages convincing and tap your emotional triggers, such as urgency or curiosity. They can make them look like they came from someone or something you know, such as a friend or a trusted company you frequently use. They could even add logos of your bank or forge the email address so the message appears more legitimate. Attackers then send these messages to millions of people. They do not know who will take the bait, all they know is the more they send, the more people will fall victim.
Protecting Yourself on Staying Safe Online
In almost all cases, opening and reading an email or message is fine. For a phishing attack to work, the bad guys need to trick you into doing something. Fortunately, there are clues that a message is an attack. Here are the most common ones:
Ultimately, common sense is your best defence. If an email or message seems odd, suspicious, or too good to be true, it may be a phishing attack. A tremendous sense of urgency that demands “immediate action” before something bad happens, like threatening to close an account or send you to jail. The attacker wants to rush you into making a mistake.
- Pressuring you to bypass or ignore your policies or procedures at work.
- A strong sense of curiosity or something that is too good to be true. (No, you did not win the lottery.)
- A generic salutation like “Dear Customer.” Most companies, colleagues or friends contacting you know your name.
- Requesting highly sensitive information, such as your credit card number, password, or any other information that a legitimate sender should already know.
- The message says it comes from an official organisation, but has poor grammar or spelling or uses a personal email address like @gmail.com.
- The message comes from an official email but has a Reply-To address going to someone’s personal email account.
- You receive a message from someone you know, but the tone or wording just does not sound like him or her. If you are suspicious, call the sender to verify they sent it. It is easy for a cyber attacker to create a message that appears to be from a friend or colleague.
If you have been a victim please contact Police on 101, Action Fraud or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous.
You can follow both Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and Action Fraud on Facebook and Twitter to be kept up to date of the latest scams.