Dorset Fraud Alerts
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 ‘email@example.com, 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.