Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Bexley Fraud & Cyber Crime Summary for June 2021

Bexley Fraud & Cyber Crime Summary

Executive Summary


Number of offences

131

Total loss

£499,694

Average per victim

£3,814

Top 5


The top 5 by volume (number of reports) type of fraud is as follows:


Fraud Type

Amount of Offences

Amount Lost

Online Shopping and Auctions 

22

£7,731

Misc. (False Representation)

20

£0

Other Advance Fee Frauds

15

£11,634

Push Payment

14

£319,424

Other Consumer Non Investment Fraud

13

£23,875


The top 5 by amount reported lost:


Fraud Type

Amount Lost

Amount of Offences

Push Payment

£319,424

14

Other Financial Investment

£80,468

11

Cheque, Plastic Card and Online Bank Accounts (not PSP)

£26,896

7

Other Consumer Non Investment Fraud

£23,875

13

Mandate Fraud

£17,200

2

Fraud Advice



Push Payment Fraud 

Online banking makes managing money easier for the general public, however criminals are taking advantage of this ease of banking and using it to defraud the public. 


Criminals can pretend to be from somewhere official, for example, your bank, or the tax office.  They contact you via email, phone or social media, and then warn you of fake suspicious or criminal activity on your bank account.  They state that they’ve set up a safe account for you to transfer your funds into.  However, this is actually their account. 


How to protect yourself


  • Be suspicious of a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a position of authority.


  • Take down the person’s details (name, authority, department, branch etc.) and verify using independent source contact details.  


  • A genuine official from the Police, your bank, HMRC or any other trusted authority will NEVER call you to ask you to verify your personal banking details, PIN or password, or threaten you with arrest. 


  • Never transfer money into another account unless you are 100% certain of the owner of the account. 


  • Your bank will never set up a “safe” account for you. 


  • If you are a victim, contact your bank as soon as possible, as they may be able to help stop the transfer. 



 


REMEMBER – Your bank will never set up a “safe account”. 


CAUTION – Unless you definitely know who the account belongs to, it might not be safe. 


THINK – Who told me this account was safe?  Have I checked their identity? 



Other Consumer Non Investment Fraud

Sometimes businesses use deceptive business practices that can cause their victims to suffer financial losses.

The victims believe they are participating in a legal and valid business transaction when they are actually being defrauded. Fraud against consumers is often related to false promises or inaccurate claims made to consumers, as well as practices that directly cheat consumers out of their money.

How to protect yourself
• Research the company before purchasing goods or services.
• Use Companies House to find out how long they have been trading.
• Ensure you use trusted, reviewed companies.
• Avoid using direct bank transfers when purchasing items online, instead use a credit card.


Payment Fraud (aka Mandate Fraud)

Payment fraud is a specific type of fraud which targets businesses with the intention of getting them to transfer money to a bank account operated by the criminal.

There are two main types of payment fraud, CEO fraud and Mandate Fraud. Both are usually targeted at staff within a company’s accounts department and use spoofed sender email addresses (sometimes called Business Email Compromise) 

CEO fraud involves an email that claims to be from a senior member of staff within a company such as a CEO (Chief Executive Officer). The email will ask the receiver to make a payment or transfer funds for an ongoing or new business transaction. Often the payment request is marked as urgent and pressure is applied to the receiver to make the payment as soon as possible. 

Mandate fraud involves an email which appears to come from a known supplier. The email will request that future payments for products or services are made to a new bank account and give a reason for the account change. 

In each instance, the new account will be under the control of the criminal and any funds paid in to it will be lost.

How to protect yourself


If an email is received requesting a change of bank details on an account or a one off payment, verify this by making direct contact with the organisation or person requesting the change.  Ideally, phone them on a number you already have, failing that, double check the email used.  Do not use any contact details from the suspicious email. Don’t be pressurised by any email, or follow up phone call, as this may be the criminal. Always double check.

However, some criminals are getting wise to this, and so will prep a victim in advance by contacting them a few days or weeks earlier to change any stored phone numbers or emails to their own.  So, it’s a good idea to double check any contact when change of details occur.  Make sure you double check via the original contact details.

REMEMBER – Don’t change bank details without double checking.

CAUTION – Sometimes, criminals will call in advance to fraudulently change contact numbers.  Check when these change too.

THINK - Why does this payment have to be made? 


Investment Fraud

Investing in stocks and shares or any other commodity can be a successful way of making money. However, it can also lead to people losing their entire life savings. Fraudsters will persuade you to invest in all kinds of products. They will offer you high rates of return, particularly over longer periods of time, which often do not exist.


Common products that will be offered include binary options, virtual currency, carbon credits, wine, rare metals, gemstones, land and alternative energy. Often, initial investments will yield small returns as an incentive to invest further funds. However, larger investments or cashing out will be met with excuses or a penalty charge. Eventually contact with the fraudster will be impossible and all funds and bogus returns lost.


Fraudsters are organised and they may have details of previous investments you have made or shares you have purchased. Knowing this information does not mean they are genuine.

Criminals may direct you to well-presented websites or send you glossy marketing material. These resources do not prove they are a genuine company. Many fraudulent companies have a polished customer image to cover their illegal activities.


It is relatively easy to register a company with Companies House. This does not confirm or endorse that they can provide genuine investments. Indeed, emerging investment markets may be unregulated, making these open to abuse.

Companies may be registered at prestigious addresses, for example Canary Wharf or Mayfair. This does not mean they operate from there. It is an accepted business practice to rent such a virtual office to enhance a business’s status. However, fraudsters are also aware of this and exploit it.

The fraudster may put pressure on you by offering a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ or claim the deal has to be done quickly to maximise profit.


In addition - be wary of companies that offer to ‘recover’ any funds you have lost to any sort of investment scam. They may be linked to the company who initially defrauded you in the first place and may be targeting you again.
This is known as ‘Recovery Fraud’. 


How to protect yourself


  • There are no get rich quick schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Genuine investment companies will not cold call you. Be extremely wary of anyone who does.

  • Research both what you have been offered, and the investment company.  Speak to Trading Standards if you have concerns.

  • Before investing, check the Financial Conduct Authority register (https://register.fca.org.uk/) to see if the firm or individual you are dealing with is authorised

  • Check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.



REMEMBER - Don’t be pressured into making a quick decision.


CAUTION - Seek independent financial advice before committing to any investment.


THINK - Why would a legitimate investment company call me out of the blue?


Remember:


Your bank, the police, or tax office will never ask you to attend your bank, withdraw, transfer or pay money over the phone or send couriers to collect your card or cash. Nor would they ask you to buy goods or vouchers. 


This is a scam. 


  1. Hang up (Never give details or money following a cold call)

  2. Take 5 (Seek a second opinion, tell someone what has happened)

  3. Verify (if concerned, contact the company via a pre-confirmed method)


All of our videos and electronic leaflets can be found on the following link; www.met.police.uk/littlemedia
Free cyber advice can be found https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home


Always report, Scams fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud,
either online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.



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.


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