Allerthorpe Parish Council

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 Lloyds 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.

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 claimed to be from a Lloyds contact centre. The bank has confirmed that the phone number and letters are fake.

The letters are essentially a sophisticated phishing attempt and serves as a warning to consumers to question written correspondence from their banks.

If you are ever suspicious about correspondence from your bank you should call the customer serviced number on the back of their card.

To report a fraud and cybercrime, call us on 0300 123 2040 or visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud

The Parish Council and Neighbourhood Watch regularly receive notification whenever a new risk arises.  The details will be published here in date order sequence.   Every warning carries a telephone number to contact should you think you have become a victim.

With summer holidays fast approaching, individuals are often more exposed to travel booking frauds when looking for last minute package deals / cheap flights. Whether paying upfront for a family holiday or simply booking a flight, payments are transferred only to discover that the holiday / airline ticket does not exist and was sold to you by a bogus travel company. Fraudsters will often lure in potential customers with low prices and ‘one time only’ offers that are simply too good to pass up, requesting payment by the preferred method of direct bank transfer.
 
Avoid
Paying for a holiday / airline tickets / accommodation via direct bank transfer. No reputable company will ever request payment via this method.
Responding to unsolicited calls, texts or emails offering holidays at incredibly low prices.
 
Protect Yourself

  • Whenever possible, pay for your holiday by credit card as it offers increased protection.
  • Always remember to look for the ‘https’ and locked padlock icon in the address bar before entering your payment details.
  • Never feel pressured to make a booking for fear that you will miss out on this ‘low price’ opportunity. If you have never used the company before, take your time to do some online research to ensure they are reputable.
  • Should you make a flight or hotel booking through a travel company, feel free to separately check with the hotel / particular airline that your booking does indeed exist.

If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

Inheritance fraud usually occurs when you are told that someone very rich has died and you are in line to receive a huge inheritance. A fraudster who claims to be a Business Relations Manager from an overseas bank or legal official contacts you through email or a letter stating that a person sharing your family name has died and left behind a vast amount of money. The fraudster suggests that as you share the same family name as the deceased, you can be the beneficiary of the estate and rather than handing any ‘Inheritance Tax’ over to the government you can split the inheritance with the fraudster.
 
The fraudster will emphasise the need for secrecy and warn you not to tell anyone else about the deal. To hurry you into making a hasty decision, they will also stress the need to act quickly. 
 
If you respond to the fraudster, they will ask you to pay various fees – for example: taxes, legal fees, banking fees etc. – so they can release your non-existent inheritance. Each time you make a payment, the fraudsters will come up with a reason why the inheritance cannot be paid out unless you make another payment. If you ask, they will also give you reasons why the fees cannot be taken from your inheritance and have to be paid up front.
 
If you become reluctant to pay a fee or suggest you cannot afford it, the fraudsters will put pressure on you by reminding you how close you are to receiving a sum of money much greater than the fees you’ve already handed over, and of how much you’ve already paid out. The fraudsters may also ask for your bank details so they can pay the inheritance directly into your bank account. If you hand over your bank details, the fraudsters can use them to empty your account.
 
You could be a victim of inheritance fraud if:
 

  • You’ve received an email or letter informing you that someone you may be related to has died without leaving a will and you may be in line to inherit.
  • You’ve paid fees to ‘research specialists’ who offer to sell you an estate report that includes information on the inheritance and how you can claim it.

 
What should you do if you’re a victim of inheritance fraud?
 

  • End all further contact with the fraudsters. Don’t send them any more money. Don’t give them your bank details.
  • If you have already given the fraudsters your bank account details, alert your bank immediately.
  • If you receive any threats from the fraudsters once you have stopped co-operating with them, alert the police immediately.
  • Be aware that you’re now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds. People who have already fallen victim to fraudsters are particularly vulnerable to the fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters contact people who’ve already lost money through fraud and claim to be law enforcement officers or lawyers. They’ll advise the victim that they can help them recover their lost money – but request a fee. 

 
Protect yourself against inheritance fraud

  • Although there are legitimate companies who make a living by tracking down heirs, they do not do it in this way. If you are asked for a fee for a report, it is very likely to be bogus.
  • Letters/documents provided by the fraudsters are generally badly written. Look out for spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
  • Beware if you are asked to contact a webmail address such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail. As a rule, legitimate law firms do not use them.
  • As in most cases of fraud, if the promise seems too good to be true, it most probably is.

If you 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

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has noticed an increase in reports of fraudsters placing fake letter boxes on residential properties in an attempt to harvest the mail. Residents are sometimes unaware of the fake letterbox as the fraudsters will periodically remove the item, which may leave notable markings. The mail is then used to open various lines of credit with financial providers in the name of the innocent resident.
 
Protect Yourself

  • Be vigilant and check for any suspicious activity, tampering of your post/letterbox or for suspicious glue markings on the wall.
  • Check all post received from financial institutions, even if it appears unsolicited.
  • Consider reporting theft of mail to your local police force and any cases of identity fraud to Action Fraud.
  • If you have been a victim of identity fraud consider Cifas Protection Registration (https://www.cifas.org.uk/protective_registration_form)

If you, or anyone you know, has 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

09/05/2016 14:45:00

Fraudsters are sending phishing texts and e-mail messages to members of the public, claiming to be from Apple. The messages typically state that the recipient’s iCloud or iTunes account is out of date and that they need to follow a link to avoid account suspension. Once the link has been followed, victims are prompted for personal information, such as their bank account details.
 
Protect Yourself:
 

  • Don’t open web links contained in unsolicited texts or e-mails.
  • Never provide your personal information to a third party from an unsolicited communication.
  • If you have provided personal information and you are concerned that your identity may be compromised consider Cifas Protection Registration which can be found here: https://www.cifas.org.uk/protective_registration_form.
  • If you receive what you believe to be a phishing message purporting to be from Apple, report it to reportphishing@apple.com

 
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.
 

04/05/2016 12:20:22

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites. The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely that the pet does not exist.

Protect Yourself:
 

  • Stay within auction guidelines.
  • Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer.
  • Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller, for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with the number/email address online. 
  • Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it.
  • Agree a suitable time to meet face to face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. If the seller is reluctant to meet then it could be an indication that the pet does not exist.
  • A genuine seller should be keen to ensure that the pet is going to a caring and loving new home. If the seller does not express any interest in you and the pet’s new home, be wary.
  • If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then it probably is, especially if the pet is advertised as a pure-breed.
  • Do not be afraid to request copies of the pet’s inoculation history, breed paperwork and certification prior to agreeing a sale. If the seller is reluctant or unable to provide this information it could be an indication that either the pet does not exist or the pet has been illegally bred e.g. it originates from a ‘puppy farm’. A ‘puppy farm’ is a commercial dog breeding enterprise where the sole aim is to maximise profit for the least investment. Commercial dog breeders must be registered with their local authority and undergo regular inspections to ensure that the puppies are bred responsibly and are in turn fit and healthy. Illegally farmed puppies will often be kept in inadequate conditions and are more likely to suffer from ailments and illnesses associated with irresponsible breeding.
  • When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders

 
If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

29/04/2016 15:12:28

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.

11/04/2016 15:41:24

Fraudsters are targeting members of the public who are expecting to make a payment for property repairs. The fraudsters, via email, will purport to be a tradesman who has recently completed work at the property and use a similar email address to that of the genuine tradesman. They will ask for funds to be transferred via bank transfer and once payment is made the victims of the fraud soon realise they have been deceived when the genuine tradesman requests payment for their services.

Protect Yourself:

  • Always check the email address is exactly the same as previous correspondence with the genuine contact.
  • For any request of payment via email verify the validity of the request with a phone call to the person who carried out the work.
  • Check the email for spelling and grammar as these signs can indicate that the email is not genuine.
  • Payments via bank transfer offer no financial protection; consider using alternative methods such as a credit card or PayPal which offer some protection and avenue for recompense.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online at:  http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone on: 0300 123 2040.