Dorset Fraud Alert
Dorset Police is alerting local residents about the latest phone and online scams across Dorset.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, of any description, contact Action Fraud here.
If a crime is in a progress, call the police on the emergency number, 999.
We have recently seen an increase in dating fraud scams online in Dorset.
Last month we had a report where a lady in Dorset lost over £100,000 in a dating scam.
Cyber criminals are increasingly creating fake online profiles and tricking people on dating sites into handing over large sums of money (£39m in the UK last year alone).
The con artists attempts to build up trust with the person by messaging for weeks or even months before suddenly having some sort of "emergency" (e.g. an emergency operation or being mugged) and then asking for money from their victim.
If you are ever suspicious, do a Google image search to see whether they’ve taken someone else’s picture or one that’s easily available online.
Maybe even search their name and see if it’s been used in another scams that have been talked about online.
Watch out for inconsistencies and repetition too - you could be talking to a team of scammers so they can sometimes forget what has already been said in conversation.
Report any suspicious activity to the dating site and never send any money online to someone you haven’t met - even if they sound genuine.
For more information please go to our cyber-crime page here.
An HMRC scam has been doing the rounds in Dorset targeting elderly & vulnerable people. Today Dorset Police has been advised of a second scam whereby individuals are now claiming to be Dorset Police using the 01202/01305 222 222 telephone number requesting details from residents.
Dorset Police would never ask you for your personal details on the telephone and we would never call you from the 222 222 telephone number.
Please be aware and stay vigilant. Do not pass any personal information over the phone or via email. If you receive a call please report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Victims have handed over approximately £520k to fraudsters who have asked for payment using iTunes Gift Cards, since May 2016.
iTunes is an online media player developed by Apple and used to organise and access music, films and TV programmes. Apple offer iTunes Gift Cards for sale which can be redeemed on the iTunes Store and various other Apple services.
Over the past few months fraudsters have been tricking victims into buying iTunes Gift Cards and asking them to read out/send the serial code for payment in various types of fraud.
The fraudsters don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and once the code is sent, the money is lost.
Please be aware of this. Should you receive a request for payment using iTunes Gift Cards outside of iTunes and the App Store please report it to Action Fraud immediately.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will never send notifications of a tax rebate/refund by email, or ask you to disclose any personal or financial information by email or text message. Where they may occasionally use text messages as a communicative tool, personal details such as account numbers will never be requested.
The HMRC have also been made aware of telephone calls some people are receiving from people purporting to be from the HMRC. These bogus callers may encourage you to provide bank account or personal information in exchange for ‘tax advice’ or a bogus refund, or they may inform you that HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you and that you must make immediate payment or they will send the Police to your house.
This scam has been widely reported and seems to be targeting elderly and vulnerable people.
Please don't offer these people any personal details. If you have received an email, text message or telephone call that you believe to be fake, please contact Action Fraud to report it.
Warning: Fraudsters send out letters claiming to be from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau
The letter is being sent to victims of fraud offering them the opportunity to have their money returned. To receive the money, it asks them to send their personal details to a South African bank. However, it uses the NFIB branding and the name of the City of London Police’s Commissioner to appear credible.
The fraudsters are sending these letters so that they are able to gather bank details and defraud people who have already fallen victim to fraud.
If you have already been a victim of fraud please be ready for these fraud recovery scams. Challenge any letters from people you don’t know or companies you’ve never contacted.
Clarify any letters directly with the relevant organisation.
If you’re asked to pay, or give your bank account details, end all contact.
A victim received a Phishing email purporting to be from Amazon requesting the victims bank details in order to receive a refund. The victim provided their bank account details to claim the refund.
A few days later the victim received a Vishing telephone call whereby the suspect purported to be from Santander Bank, claiming there has been fraudulent activity on the victim’s account. As part of the ‘security process’ the victim provided their online banking details.
The suspect carried out transactions and transferred funds to another account which had been set up using false identities.
Please be aware of scam emails. Look for spelling errors, strange and familiar greetings and requests for personal details.
A fake email claiming to be from BT is attempting to trick victims into automatically downloading Dridex banking malware.
The emails entitled ‘New BT bill’ contains a link that automatically downloads a malicious file called ‘BT bill.zip’ once clicked. What makes this scam email unique is the Dridex malware starts downloading without a webpage being opened.
Once installed, the Dridex malware is designed to steal personal information such as usernames and passwords by eavesdropping, with the ultimate goal of getting into bank accounts and stealing cash.
Users of WhatsApp are being warned about a new scam.
Criminals have started sending out messages designed to trick you into sharing your banking details.
While this type of ploy is nothing new, Action Fraud has described it as “clever”, and believes it could successfully dupe long-term users of the messaging app.
If you receive a message like this please do not respond. Instead you should block the sender, so they can no longer message or call you through WhatsApp.
Just open the conversation and hit Block. You can also report the user as Spam from here.
Recent intelligence suggests that fraudsters and bogus traders may be posing as council officials or professionals in the fire prevention industry and cold calling or visiting the homes of potential victims.
Citing the Grenfell Tower fire as the reason for their contact, the fraudsters are allegedly offering services such as a free or subsidised safety inspection of a property.
The NFIB has also received intelligence that suggests fraudsters may be trying to contact organisations and claiming to offer contracts to provide services or goods to affected persons or organisations.
Whilst the NFIB are currently unaware of any successful attempts made by fraudsters, the public are encouraged to actively report any suspicious approaches by individuals purporting to offer goods or services in relation to health and fire safety to Action Fraud, especially in cases where it is suggested they are making contact as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Action Fraud have recently received a number of reports from members of the public who have responded to written posts, pages, pictures and adverts on social media platforms offering varying types of insurance cover at desirable prices. However, once money has been transferred to the fraudsters posing as insurance brokers, a number of consequences have been reported. In some cases, contact has been severed with the victim altogether and there is no further communication. In other cases, insurance has initially been purchased on behalf of the victim only to be immediately cancelled with the insurer; this means that bogus brokers can forward voided paperwork or email concerning insurance cover to the unsuspecting victim and pocket any refunded insurance fees.
Though many genuine insurers and brokers operate on social media platforms they may also have their own websites and physical locations. It is good practice to conduct further research regarding any company offering insurance services, especially when the initial advert or contact is via social media.
If a broker claims to be accredited with a good practice organisation don’t just take their word for it, be sure to contact the respective organisation directly and check their database or make an enquiry.
Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s website (Register.fca.org.uk) to check if an insurance broker is authorised.
It is possible that you could still be prosecuted for having no insurance (such as motor insurance) even if you have been a victim of insurance broker fraud and believed you were insured. To check that your vehicle insurance is valid, contact the insurer directly to verify the details.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or calling 0300 123 2040.
A number of reports have been made by the public surrounding an online ticket vendor called ‘goticketsuk.com’. Victims are being drawn to the ‘goticketsuk.com’ website or its various social media platforms.
Victims have purchased tickets for concerts or festivals due to take place many months later. Upon purchase they are instructed that they will receive physical tickets along with further correspondence nearer to the event date; however, as the concert or event date has drawn closer and victims have attempted to contact ‘goticketsuk.com’ for an update, a response has been received suggesting a number of reasons why tickets cannot be sent. These include an overbooking of tickets at the venue, a delay receiving the tickets from a supplier, or that the tickets have simply had to be cancelled.
When victims have responded to the email or attempted to seek further information via ‘goticketsuk.com’ social media platforms, there has been no further contact. Some reports have also indicated that victims have been promised a refund, though we are unaware of any refunds being awarded. In these cases there appears to be a number of victims who were expecting to attend a Robbie Williams concert and there have also been some reports which have indicated fraudulent ticket purchases for The Demon Dayz Festival.
We would encourage anyone who has purchased tickets or passes for upcoming events via ‘goticketsuk.com’ to contact Action Fraud in the first instance, especially in cases where no correspondence has been received surrounding their purchase so that a report can be taken. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau rely on the public to actively report suspected instances of fraud in order to gather evidence and build a better picture of the fraud landscape.
The advice we give is to only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, the promoter, an official agent or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
For more information about ticket fraud and how to protect yourself further, please visit the ‘Ticket Fraud’ page on the Action Fraud website; https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-ticket-scam.
Following the ransomware cyber attack on Friday 12 May which affected the NHS and is believed to have affected other organisations globally, the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued an alert urging both individuals and businesses to follow protection advice immediately and in the coming days.
- Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available
- Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated
- Create regular backups of your important files to a device that isn’t left connected to your network as any malware infection could spread to that too.
Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.
One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.
The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection.
The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free, and took £320 as payment.
It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.
Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.
A new Phishing email scam is doing the rounds in Dorset.
An email pretending to be from Netflix is being sent stating that the subscription charge payment has been declined. It asks for you to check your bank details and validate your account by clicking the button at the bottom of the email.
PLEASE DON'T DO THIS! This is a typical phishing email.
If you are concerned please contact Netflix or Action Fraud.
News broke on Sunday evening about a data breach at Wonga (British payday loans company). Up to 245,000 UK customers may be affected.
City of London Police has worked with the Home Office and the Financial Conduct Authority to come up with agreed protect advice for affected customers.
Crime Prevention Advice
It is important that if any of your financial details were compromised, you need to notify your bank or card company as soon as possible. Make sure to review your financial statements regularly for any unusual activity.
Criminals can use personal data obtained from a data breach to commit identity fraud. Consider using credit reference agencies, such as Experian or Equifax, to regularly monitor your credit file for unusual activity.
Be suspicious of any unsolicited calls, emails or texts, even if it appears to be from a company you know of. Don’t open the attachments or click on links within unsolicited emails, and never disclose any personal or financial details during a cold call.
If you suspect you may have been a victim of fraud, attempted fraud or cybercrime, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or visit Actionfraud.police.uk
Fraudsters are researching solicitor organisations and obtaining their Document Exchange (DX) number to commit fraud against legitimate companies and organisations.
Solicitors communicate using a variety of methods with the majority having an account with the inter-law firm postal system, DX. This is a cheaper service and allows next-day delivery – an advantage over using the Royal Mail service.
The fraudster will choose a solicitor’s firm that is either licensed to recover debt, or just completely falsify a licence and subsequent documentation.
A solicitor that may have been deceived, or person purporting to be a solicitor, will go to court and submit a large volume of debt collection forms.
It is understood the Judge will ask if there is any representation from the companies concerned; normally there is no representation.
The paperwork will receive an official court stamp and is then handed to the appropriate debt collectors.
No-one wants debt collectors in the reception area threatening to start removing company property. We understand that companies can appeal an order, however by that time the fraudsters are not traceable.
Please be aware and report anything suspicious to Action Fraud.
Fraudsters are sending out a high volume of phishing emails to personal and business email addresses, with a Banking Trojan hidden in an attachment.
– Be on the lookout for unexpected invoices or unusual payment requests.
– Avoid enabling any macros on an untrusted document.
– If you’re suspicious – don’t reply to the email but instead call your supplier on the number that you have on file to check the authenticity of the invoice.
– Ensure you have the latest anti-virus and security updates installed on your computer and consider using high-level macro security settings in software applications.
– Ensure strong firewalls are in place to help detect malware and prevent data leaving the network without permission.
– Consider using a separate computer dedicated to making online payments to minimise security risks.
Ticket fraud is when you buy tickets from a website, but the tickets do not arrive or turn out to be fake.
The website offers you the chance to buy tickets to a popular event. The event is often actually sold-out, or the tickets haven’t officially gone on sale yet. You pay for the tickets but they are never delivered. In some cases you might be told that a customer representative will meet you at the venue on the day but nobody turns up.
When you try to call the company you bought the tickets from, your calls are not answered or do not connect.
Remember that it’s easy for scammers to set up a fake website that looks genuine.
Some even use a name or website URL that is similar to a legitimate website.
If you’re unsure, or it sounds too good to be true, leave the website immediately.
If you have lost money to a ticket scam, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Many people use webcams for flirting and cybersex - but sometimes people you meet online aren't who they say they are.
Criminals might befriend victims online by using a fake identity and then persuade them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam, often by using an attractive woman to entice the victim to participate. These women may have been coerced into these actions using financial incentives or threats.
These webcam videos are recorded by the criminals who then threaten to share the images with the victims’ friends and family. This can make the victims feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed and, tragically, here in the UK at least four young men have taken their own lives after being targeted in this way.
Both men and women can be victims of this crime, either by being blackmailed or by being coerced into carrying out sexual acts.
The best way to stop yourself from becoming a victim is to be very careful about who you befriend online, especially if you’re considering sharing anything intimate with them.
A man has been charged with fraud by false representation in Bournemouth.
It was reported that at around 2pm on Monday 15 August 2016 an elderly man received a phone call from a fraudster purporting to be a police officer from the fraud squad in London. He allegedly told him to withdraw money from his bank to assist with an investigation.
A man is then alleged to have attended the victim's address in Bournemouth claiming to be the fraud squad's courier. It is then reported the victim handed over a quantity of cash.
A 22-year-old from London is due to appear before Poole Magistrates' Court today, Friday 17 March 2017.
NHS members are being targeted by tax rebate companies, purporting to offer services whereby they obtain a tax rebate on the victim’s behalf.
However, the company obtains the refund but does not provide any of the funds to their customer, leaving victims out of pocket.
Tax rebate fraud does not only affect NHS staff but can also affect Police Officers, airline staff and teachers. However this list of professions is not exclusive and anyone can be targeted.
Crime Prevention Advice
Do research online to ensure the company is reputable by checking the registration details are correct and by viewing feedback online.
Do not feel pressured to sign documentation without doing some basic checks.
Do not respond to unsolicited emails, texts or calls offering rebate services.
Make sure that you are aware and agree to the commission that will be paid to a rebate company prior to signing any documents.
If you have been affected by this, or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Recently, we have seen examples where properties have been rented on Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements using false details.
Once in the property, the fraudsters use the address to receive goods that have been fraudulently obtained, usually with stolen / compromised card details.
The risk to the landlord is that the tenant may leave without paying the rent, may pay the deposit with stolen or compromised card details, and may leave the property with outstanding debts.
This can cause a problem with credit reference agencies, debt recovery agents, etc. and is generally bad for reputation.
The situation is similar with holiday rentals – we have seen examples where a fraudster rents a holiday let using false details and paying through a third party (this may be fraudulent in itself). Once at the property, goods are ordered fraudulently and delivered to the holiday rental. By the time the fraud is identified and reported, the fraudsters have moved on.
Again, the risk to the landlord is reputational – it is likely that subsequent tenants will be visited by Police trying to locate the fraudster, it may cause credit reference agency issues and debt recovery issues.
Please make sure you know who you are renting to – obtaining proof of identity, and checking that it is genuine before entering into an agreement.
Fraudsters are sending out a high number of phishing emails to university email addresses claiming to be from their own HR department. These email addresses are either spoofed or in some cases using compromised university email accounts.
The email claims that the recipient is entitled to a pay rise from their department and to click on a link to claim the pay rise.
This link then takes you to a spoofed university website telling you to enter to your personal details (including university login details and financial information). These financial details can then be used by criminals, and the login details are usually passed around and sold for future fraud campaigns.
It is advisable that all universities prompt all staff and students change any password associated with their university email/IT accounts.
Due to potential data breaches, it is recommended that universities discuss with the IT departments about issuing a mandatory password reset for all users.
A Dorset resident booked and paid for a villa through what appeared to be a legitimate website.
When they arrived in Lanzarote there was no record of that accommodation and no contact from the company they booked through. This mistake left them stranded.
Please research unknown companies before you pass them any details and certainly before you part with any money.
There are many satisfied customers who book accommodation online without any problems, but there are risks.
This victim has reported this incident to Action Fraud. The fraudsters could be anywhere, which is why we have Action Fraud. Action Fraud provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime.
Several victims have been identified recently after receiving convincing looking emails claiming to be from Amazon.
The spoofed emails from email@example.com claim recipients have made an order online and mimic an automatic customer email notification.
The emails cleverly state that if recipients have not 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 to receive a refund.
Amazon will never ask for personal information to be supplied by e-mail.
A lady received a message Facebook from someone she knew asking her to text someone on her behalf as she was unable to do so.
It sounded strange but was a simple request from a friend and so the lady didn't question it.
The lady has since been charged £80 as the text messages charged her (similar to when you text a number to donate to charity).
The Facebook friend has no knowledge of this transaction and claims that his Facebook account was hacked.
Enquiries are ongoing to establish the details behind this have not yet established what has happened or who is behind this scam.
Beware if a friend on Facebook asks you to do a small favour, it may not be them making the request!
Fraudsters are sending out a high number of phishing emails to personal and business email addresses pretending to come from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line being ‘Your Relish bill is ready’.
This is a ‘spoofed’ email pretending to come from the London based broadband company ‘Relish’.
Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always prevent you from becoming infected.
Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust.
If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting the Action Fraud website.
An elderly lady from Dorset received an email stating that said she was due a tax rebate.
The email asked her to fill in a form and provide her bank details in order to receive the money owed.
Not long after the email was sent, the lady received a phone call on her home telephone number.
The caller said he was from Nationwide and the earlier email was a scam. The lady was asked to use her card reader and transfer the discussed funds.
Unfortunately she did this and lost £850. She has since reported this to her bank and to Dorset Police.
At this time it is unknown if the money will be refunded.
This was a scam. Please be aware:
BANKS WILL NEVER CALL YOU TO ASK YOU TO TRANSFER FUNDS.
If you are suspicious never give out any details and always call the bank back to verify who you are speaking to.
A man from Dorset sold iTunes vouchers on Ebay.
The buyer sent payment via Paypal and once it had been confirmed that payment was received, the man supplied the buyer with the voucher codes so they could be used online.
The sale looked like it had gone well until the money was revoked by Paypal. The seller had reported to Paypal that they were not involved so Paypal withdraw the payment and deemed it as having been obtained fraudulently.
This man is now at a loss. He has sold something, received payment for the items and so provided the goods to the buyer. The buyer has then claimed that this transaction was nothing to do with them and so Paypal has withdrawn the payment.
The only way the man could have proved the buyer was involved was if the item was posted and proof of postage was obtained.
Be aware online. Paypal is safe as long as you have proof that the goods are sent to the buyer who pays you.
Fraudsters claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are contacting victims regarding their alleged 'outstanding debts'.
They are requesting these bogus debts and taxes be paid with iTunes gift cards.
It is believed that they are requesting these gift cards because they can be easily redeemed and easily sold on.
Fraudsters often target vulnerable people, including elderly people who may be isolated, people with mental ill health and those who have learning disabilities. They use convincing tactics to manipulate victims.
Please be aware of this and make your friends and family aware too.