Thursday 18 April 2024

Watch out for this WhatsApp scam

Watch out for this nasty WhatsApp scam that enables hackers to take control of your account and access all of your messages. Find out here how this scam works and how to protect your account from fraudsters.

WhatsApp Scam

Source: Which? (16 Apr 2024)

Spot the signs of a rogue trader

Victims of rogue locksmiths can experience rip-off prices, poor workmanship and intimidation. Locksmiths aren’t regulated, which means that technically, anyone can call themselves a locksmith, do a shoddy job, charge you a fortune and avoid being held to account.

In 2022, the Master Locksmiths Association received more than 300 reports about fraudulent locksmiths. Victims had been charged anything from £500 to more than £3,000 for emergency call-outs, which is significantly more than a reputable locksmith would charge.

Which? explains the tell-tale signs of a rogue locksmith and how to avoid appointing one.

Avoid dodgy locksmiths

Source: Which? (17 Apr 2024)

Fake flights and phantom hotels

Lloyds Bank is warning holidaymakers to watch out after it saw a 7% spike in travel scams in the past year. Victims lose an average of £765 to these scams, with Lloyds saying nearly half of those affecting its customers started on Facebook.

Find out how to avoid getting caught and the seven steps to take to stay safe when booking your holiday this year.

Spot a holiday scam

Source: Which? (15 Apr 2024)

Ticket Fraud Alert: Protect Yourself Before Buying for Popular Events

Action Fraud is warning people about ticket fraud, especially for popular summer events. Last year, people lost over £6.7 million to ticket scams.

Here's how to protect yourself:



https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/ticketfraud


Monday 15 April 2024

Scam Alert: Don't Fall for This Debit Card Phone Call

A local Borough resident received a call from a spoofed number '07719 127005' and alerted us to warn others.

Here's what you should do about the recorded message claiming a £900 purchase on your debit card:

Don't press any options or reply to the number.


This is a common tactic used by scammers. They try to trick you into giving them your personal information or confirming the fake transaction.

Here's what to do instead:

  1. Contact your bank directly. Look for the phone number on the back of your debit card or your bank's website. Don't use any phone numbers provided in the recorded message.
  2. Explain the situation to your bank. Let them know about the suspicious call and the alleged £900 purchase.
  3. Follow your bank's instructions. They will likely advise you to cancel your debit card and issue a new one.
  4. Report the scam. You can report the scam to the National Fraud Reporting Service.

Additional tips:

  • Be wary of unsolicited calls, texts, or emails, even if they seem to come from your bank.
  • Never give out your personal information or card details over the phone unless you initiated the contact.
  • If you're unsure whether a call is genuine, it's always best to err on the side of caution and contact your bank directly.
The number is spoofed and associated with a 'Telecoms Scam'.

Doorstep crime

Rogue traders are active across London – if you are not sure don’t open the door

You can help protect yourself with some common simple precautions;

  • Use a door chain so you can check who’s calling
  • Don’t trade on the door step
  • Ask a trusted friend or family member for advice on reputable traders
  • Display a sticker visible to callers saying “No cold calling”
  • Report suspicious activity to Police or Citizens Advice

Sunday 14 April 2024

Flat fire - Erith 🔥

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to a flat fire on Kale Road in Erith.

Part of a three roomed flat on the sixth floor of a block of flats was destroyed by fire. One man left the affected flat before the Brigade arrived, approximately 50 people also evacuated the building. The cause of the fire is accidental and due to the unsafe disposal of smoking materials.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "If you smoke it is vitally important you stub it right out, preferably in an ashtray.

"Always ensure your cigarette is completely out when you’ve finished smoking it. If you don’t, you risk causing a fire as you don’t know what it may land on which could potentially start a fire."

This was a very visible fire. The Brigade's 999 Control staff received 30 calls alerting them to the blaze. Thankfully no injuries are reported.

The Brigade was called at 1331 and the incident was under control by 1413. Fire crews from Plumstead, Erith, Bexley and East Greenwich fire stations were in attendance.

Smoking safety top tips

  • It's safer to smoke outside, but make sure cigarettes are put right out and disposed of properly.
  • Never smoke in bed, and avoid smoking on arm chairs and sofas – especially if you think you might fall asleep.
  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
  • Use proper ashtrays, which can’t tip over and stub cigarettes out properly.

Source: LFB (14 Apr 2024)

Thursday 11 April 2024

Investment scammers pocketed £13m a week

Criminal gangs flogging bogus investments and ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes stole an average of £13m a week in the past four years, according to Action Fraud data revealed by a Freedom of Information request.

It's a horrifyingly profitable crime, and victims can lose their lifetime savings. But what are the different types of investment fraud? From ‘pension liberation fraud’ to ‘Ponzi schemes’– find out the different types of fraud and how to invest safely.

Invest safely

Source: Which? (08 Apr 2024)


Keep your tablet secure

Our research has discovered that some tablet manufacturers support their devices with vital security updates for as little as two years, while others support theirs for five or more.

Tablets are computers. And, just like computers, they're vulnerable to security attacks. Use our free tool to check how long a new tablet will get software and security updates, and find out what to do if your tablet's at risk.

Software security

Source: Which? (09 Apr 2024)

Santander customers lost £7.3m to purchase scams

Santander has reported that purchase scam claims were up by a third in 2023 compared to 2022.

A purchase scam is when a product you pay for turns out to be fake or non-existent. The scammer is seeking to dupe you into handing over your personal and financial details, and the scam may result in loss of money immediately or even months later when you may be retargeted by the scammer.

Read on to find out what these types of scams look like and how to avoid them.

Purchase scams

Source: Which? (10 Apr 2024)

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Fire at storage yard - Erith 🔥

Firefighters are warning residents to take care with bonfires after a blaze at a storage yard on Manor Road in Erith. 

Most of two 20-foot ISO containers and half of two vehicles were damaged by the fire. A further vehicle and around four tonnes of mixed refuse were also destroyed by the blaze.

The fire is believed to have been caused by unattended burning spreading out of control. 

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "We would urge people to consider if their bonfire is necessary and to take care if you’re burning waste at home or at work. 

"If you’re having a bonfire never leave it unattended and consider your neighbours if you do decide to have a fire in your garden. 

"Make sure you build it clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges and never use flammable liquids to start it or burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans. Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire. 

“Always check your local authority’s advice on bonfires and follow our safety tips." 

The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers took 13 calls about the fire.  

The Brigade was called at 1910 and the fire was under control at 2100. Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters from Erith, Bexley and Plumstead fire stations attended the scene. 

Bonfire safety tips 

  • Build your bonfire clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges 
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire and never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries 
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out. If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water 
  • Check the area to make sure there's no wildlife or pets hiding nearby.

Source: LFB (09 Apr 2024)

Saint George's Day in England - 23rd April 2024

Saint George is the patron saint of England in a tradition established in the Tudor period, based in the saint's popularity during the times of the Crusades and the Hundred Years' War.

Veneration of the saint in folk religion declined in the 18th century. Attempts to revive the celebration of Saint George's Day (23 April) as an expression of English culture and identity date from the foundation of Royal Society of St. George in 1894.
Since the beginning of the 2010s, such efforts have resulted in St George's Day celebrations with aspects of a national holiday in England.
 
Religious observance of St George's Day changes when it is too close to Easter. According to the Church of England's calendar, when St George's Day falls between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, it is moved to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter. In 2011, for example, 23 April was Holy Saturday, so St George's Day was moved to Monday 2 May, and in 2014 it was celebrated on Monday 28 April. The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has a similar practice.
 
A traditional custom on St George's day is to wear a red rose in one's lapel, though this is no longer widely practised.
 
St. George's Day Parade. One of the best ways to celebrate St. George's Day is to watch the parade, which is held in central London, starting from Trafalgar Square, and ending at the historic Guildhall. It features marching bands, traditional English dancers, and even knights in armour. St George is also the patron saint of Scouts.
 
Date: Sunday 21 April 2024 
Time: 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Venue: Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DN, GB Cost: FREE.

Monday 8 April 2024

Scam alert: WhatsApp verification code scams are back

Action Fraud has issued a warning about an uplift in WhatsApp verification code scams. 

The fraud and cyber crime reporting agency says it has received more than 60 reports about the scam, which we originally wrote about in 2021.

Read on to find out about how the scam works and for advice on keeping your WhatsApp account safe.

Source: Which? (03 Apr 2024)

Simplyhealth Email: Approved Claim or Phishing Attempt?

The email could be legitimate or a scam. Here's how to assess it:

Signs it could be legitimate:

  • It mentions a specific company, Simplyhealth, which is a real health insurance provider.
  • It provides instructions for checking your claims within your online account or app (SimplyPlan), which is a standard way for legitimate companies to handle claims.

Signs it could be a scam:

  • Generic greeting: "Good news" is vague. A legitimate email might address you by name.
  • Sense of urgency: Phrases like "on its way" or "click here" can be used to pressure you into clicking a link without thinking.
  • Discouragement from replying: Legitimate companies usually have customer service email addresses.

Here's what you can do:

  1. Don't click the link in the email.
  2. Log in to your Simplyhealth account directly (not through the email link) and check your claims section. You should see information about the approved claim there.
  3. Call Simplyhealth directly using the phone number you know is theirs (not one provided in the email) and ask about the claim.

By checking directly with Simplyhealth, you'll be sure you're dealing with a legitimate claim and avoid any phishing attempts.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Our real-time scams-tracker page

From a WhatsApp Gold scam to a DVLA impersonation email, we keep our scams-tracker page updated with the latest news – something to keep you informed between your Thursday Scam Alert emails. Check out the latest scams.

Scams-tracker

Source: Which? (03 Apr 2024)

Guide: What is identity fraud?

Identity fraud is the use of a stolen identity to obtain goods or services by deception. A victim can be left feeling extremely vulnerable, especially as the first you learn of ID fraud could be when you get a bill or invoice for something you haven’t ordered, or when you have letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.

There are important things you can do to protect yourself against identity fraud – make sure you read them in our guide.

Identity fraud

Source: Which? (02 Apr 2024)

Beware social media hacking on the rise

Action Fraud has issued a warning after 22,530 people reported that their social media accounts had been hacked in 2023. Fraudsters can access your online accounts in a variety of ways. If you find that one of your accounts has been hacked, you may be wondering how they gained access.

Find out the main ways a hacker can gain access and how to protect your accounts.

Account hacking

Source: Which? (03 Apr 2024)

Wednesday 3 April 2024

"Beware of "Is this you?" Scam on Social Media"

Yes, "Is this you in this video/photo?" is a common social media scam. Here's how it works and how to avoid it:

The Scam:

  • You receive a message, often from a friend (whose account may be hacked), with text like "Is this you in this video?" or "This looks like you!"
  • The message will likely include a link.
  • Clicking the link takes you to a fake login page designed to steal your social media password. Once they have it, they can scam your friends or spread malware.

How to Avoid It:

  • Don't click the link!
  • If you're curious about the video/photo, reach out to your friend directly through another method (call, text message) and ask if they sent it. It's likely their account was hacked.
  • Be suspicious of any messages asking you to click on a link, especially if they come from unexpected contacts.

Here are some additional tips for staying safe on social media:

  • Be careful about who you friend/follow. Only connect with people you know and trust.
  • Beware of messages that seem too good to be true. If someone is offering you something amazing, it's probably a scam.
  • Never share your social media password with anyone.
  • Use strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts. Consider a password manager to help you keep track.

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from social media scams.

If you think you may have clicked on a malicious link, report it to the social media platform and change your password immediately. Use 2FA as per https://bexleywatch.blogspot.com/search/label/2FA

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Do it online: another way to contact the police

The NPCC (National Police Chief's Council) has launched a new app called Police.UK, which allows the public to report crimes and incidents, find out information about local policing teams, and access prevention advice and support for victims and witnesses of crime. You can read more about this here.

Download the app

Android            iOS

Friday 29 March 2024

Scammers imitating bank websites

In 2023 there were more than 2,000 reports of fake websites that appear to imitate UK banks. Although banks attempt to get lookalike websites taken down, the number being registered, and the sometimes inadequate response from domain websites, means they're up long enough to find victims.

These copycat websites play a crucial role in impersonation scams. Here we reveal the scale of the copycat bank websites, how to spot one and what needs to be done to stop them appearing in the first place.

Copycat bank websites

Source: Which? (26 Mar 2024)

Double-check short links

On the topic of fake websites, link shorteners are free tools to make website links a lot shorter. These services are legitimate but can be used by scammers to ‘mask’ the actual URL and appear more legitimate.

Looking out for short links is just one of our nine tips to help identify and avoid fake, fraudulent or scam websites.

Beware short links

Source: Which? (26 mar 2024)

Which? are warning EE customers about sneaky texts

We have seen at least 10 different versions of a text scam that tell you there are points in your account or you have a prize to claim, all with a link to a scam website.

We don't advise that you click on a link from a text message, as malicious links can contain malware that will infect your device. But for the purposes of our investigation we clicked them.

Find out what happened with our investigation and how to spot and block scam texts.

Text scams

Source: Which? (27 Mar 2024)

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Maisonette fire - Abbey Wood 🔥🚒

Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters tackled a maisonette fire on Lensbury Way in Abbey Wood. 

A split-level maisonette on the first and second floors of the building was destroyed by fire. Half of a further three-roomed flat on the first floor was also damaged by the blaze.  Nine people left the property before the Brigade arrived. There were no reports of any injuries.

The Brigade's 999 Control Officers took 11 calls to the blaze.

The Brigade was called at 1347 and the fire was under control by 1508. Fire crews from Plumstead, Greenwich, Deptford, Brixton, Lee Green and Eltham fire stations attended the scene. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Source: LFB (20/03/2024)

Thursday 21 March 2024

The scams you need to know about

From fake PayPal invoices to phoney McAfee emails claiming that your internet protection is about to end, our scams tracker highlights the scams you need to know about to stay one step ahead of scammers.

The latest scams

Source: Which? (20 mar 2024)

‘I lost £750 to a scammer, but only recovered £12.50’

One reader contacted Which? after being targeted by fraudsters posing as a decorating firm.

The victim had previously used this decorating company and had received a quote after their recent visit. However, a fraudster intercepted the email exchange and used the same email address to follow up with the victim to request a deposit of £750. The victim paid the deposit, but then received an email requesting the deposit be resent due to a 'transaction failure'.

If you suspect you've paid money to a scammer, seek our expert advice on the appropriate next steps.

Get our help

Source: Which? (20 Mar 2024)

4 ways to help someone after a scam

Witnessing a friend or loved one suffer the aftermath of a scam is a highly challenging experience which millions of people go through every year. Friends and family can play a crucial role in helping victims recover from a scam. They can provide non-judgmental emotional support and assist with the practicalities of mental health and financial recovery.

If someone you care about has been scammed, here are four ways you can help them.

Support a loved one

Source: Which? (20 Mar 2024)

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Hackers Targeting Online Accounts - How to Stay Safe in the UK

Over 22,000 people in the UK fell victim to online account hacking in 2023, with losses exceeding £1.3 million according to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting service.

Social media and email accounts are prime targets, but you can take steps to protect yourself. Here's what you need to know:

* Beware of Impersonation Scams: Hackers might trick you into giving away security codes by pretending to be a friend or contact you know.
* Leaked Passwords are a Threat: If you reuse passwords across multiple sites, a data breach on one platform could leave all your accounts vulnerable.

Protect Yourself with Strong Passwords and 2-Step Verification:

* Unique Passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for your email and social media accounts. Consider a combination of three random words for easy remembering but complex hacking.
* Enable 2-Step Verification: This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code sent to your phone when logging in from a new device.

What to Do if You've Been Hacked:

* Report Fraud: If you're a victim in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, report it to Action Fraud (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/) or call 0300 123 2040. In Scotland, report to Police Scotland on 101.
* Forward Phishing Emails: Report suspicious emails to SERS at report@phishing.gov.uk.

Stay Informed:

* Learn more about fraud protection: https://stopthinkfraud.campaign.gov.uk/

Source: Action Fraud (18-03-2024)

Action Fraud (18-03-2024)


Saturday 16 March 2024

Flat fire - Erith 🔥

Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters tackled a flat fire on Sun Court in Erith.

Half of a two-roomed flat on the second floor of a residential block was alight. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued two people from the building and assisted further residents to safety. Five people were treated on scene by London Ambulance Service crews.

Firefighters remain on scene damping down remaining hot spots.

The Brigade was called at 0920 and the fire was under control by 1133. Fire crews from Bexley, Plumstead, East Greenwich, Lee Green, Erith and surrounding fire stations attended the scene. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Source: LFB (16/03/2024)

Thursday 14 March 2024

InstaScam: car leasing scams on Instagram

We helped a victim recover £3,000 for a car that was never delivered, after they clicked on an Instagram ad. The perpetrators were impersonating a legitimate Essex-based company, having stolen the company's name, number, and other details from Companies House to con unsuspecting victims.

Discover more about what we found and how you can dodge similar car leasing scams.

Car leasing scams

Source: Which? (13 Mar 2024)

Dodgy investment ads on Facebook and Instagram

We've found fraudulent investment ads on Facebook and Instagram that make unsupported claims of being recommended by well-known investors.

One ad features Cathie Wood, the founder of the American investment management firm ARK Invest. It encourages users to join a group and subsequently promotes a 'VIP' section that imposes a 2%- 5% commission on stock profits.

We have some examples of these ads so you don't get caught out.

Dodgy ads

Source: Which? (13 Mar 2024)

Can you spot an AI scam?

Fraudsters typically use generative AI tools, such as chatbots and software, to generate scams that may include text, video, audio and images. While this software is freely accessible and used for legitimate purposes, its increasing availability has led to a surge in AI scams. For example, scammers use voice cloning to impersonate a person's family member to ask for money.

AI is making scams more convincing and harder to detect. Check out an AI scam video to see if you're able to spot the new AI methods fraudsters use to trick you.

AI scams

Source: Which? (13 Mar 2024)

Thursday 7 March 2024

5 email scams to watch out for

Scammers often use emails containing malicious links or phone numbers that ‘phish’ for your details. This continues to be a common tactic used to deceive victims, and lots of dodgy emails have been circulating this week.

For instance, people searching on Google for intel about a Pegasus spyware email has spiked in recent days. This scam attempts to blackmail you into handing over cash, usually in Bitcoin, to avoid them exposing personal images and videos of you.

With a quarter of people receiving suspicious emails every day, it can be challenging to distinguish between genuine emails and those created by fraudsters. Discover the five email scams that are currently circulating so you don't fall victim to them.

Email scams

Source: Which? (06 Mar 2024)


Revolut account takeover warning

Two Revolut customers contacted us after being scammed by fraudsters who pretended to be calling from Revolut’s fraud team. The fraudsters had passed a series of security checks, including the 'selfie security check'.

One victim lost £165,000, rendering his business on the brink of bankruptcy, while the other lost over £40,000 in 10 minutes.

See Revolut account takeover fraud examples so you don't get caught out.

Account fraud

Source: Which? (04 Mar 2024)

Can you detect a phone scam?

It can be challenging to detect phone scams, as there are many types in operation. One common example is when fraudsters mask their phone numbers to disguise themselves as your bank's fraud department – known as spoofing. They then urge you to transfer your money to a 'safe' account before disappearing with your cash.

Scammers can be persuasive, so don't trust calls that come out of the blue. Learn more about the most common types of phone scams and follow our tips to stay safe.

Our expert tips

Source: Which? (05 Mar 2024)

Attention drivers using Stable Lane (DA5 2AW)!

This message is for anyone using Stable Lane to access the equestrian businesses or the Horseshoe Barn party venue.

Important reminder: Stable Lane is a designated Public Bridleway (BW250) from Vicarage Road to Joydens Wood. This means horses have the right of way.

The issue:

  • Some drivers are exceeding the 5mph speed limit for public bridleways, creating a dangerous situation for horse riders and other users.
  • The paved surface of the lane can mislead drivers into thinking it's a regular road, but it's not.

What we ask:

  • Please slow down when approaching horses and riders.
  • Drive with care and caution when passing horses, as they are unpredictable animals.
  • Be aware that liability rests with drivers in the event of an incident, due to the legal status of the lane.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Monday 4 March 2024

Stop! Think Fraud - National campaign and New Website

A new national campaign against fraud launched in February, with adverts running across various channels including TV, radio, social media, and billboards in public places. 

Stop! Think Fraud aims to help people understand the different types of fraud and the tactics which criminals can use against them. The campaign also provides advice and guidance on the actions people can take to prevent them falling victim to fraud. 

Did you know that in just one year, 1 in 17 adults were victims of fraud? Criminals can target people online and in their homes, often emotionally manipulating their victims before they steal their money or personal data. 

This is why the government has launched this new national campaign which encourages people to take a moment, and to Stop! Think Fraud when they come into contact with a potential scam. The campaign will remind people to check for some of the common signs of scams before providing personal details or payments if requested.

All adverts signpost to a new website: Stop! Think Fraud - How to stay safe from scams (stopthinkfraud.campaign.gov.uk). Please visit the website to find out more about the different types of fraud, how to better protect yourselves and the people you know, as well as ways to report if you have been a victim of fraud. 

The National Campaign Against Fraud is brought to you by the UK government in partnership with City of London Police, National Cyber Security Centre and National Crime Agency.


Source: National March 2024 Newsletter (pdf)

Saturday 2 March 2024

Beyond Phishing: Understanding the Recent Account Compromises

 


#Cybersecurity #YouTubeChannel #CybersecurityInsights

Here are some key aspects of securing your browsing experience:

Browser Security:

  • Keep your browser and extensions updated: This ensures you have the latest security patches and features.
  • Consider a secure browser: Explore options like Firefox, Brave, or Tor (for enhanced anonymity). These offer features like built-in tracking protection and blocking malicious websites.
  • Enable security features: Utilise features like "HTTPS-Only Mode" or "Enhanced Safe Browsing" for additional protection against insecure connections and harmful content.

Security Practices:

  • Beware of phishing attacks: Don't click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown sources. Be cautious of emails urging immediate action or claiming to be from legitimate institutions.
  • Use strong passwords and 2FA: Employ complex and unique passwords for each account, and enable two-factor authentication wherever available.
  • Be mindful of public Wi-Fi: Avoid sensitive activities like online banking or entering passwords while connected to public Wi-Fi networks. Consider using a VPN for added security.
  • Be cautious with online forms and downloads: Don't provide personal information on unverified websites. Only download software from trusted sources and be wary of free downloads with hidden costs or malware.

Additional Tips:

  • Use an ad blocker: This can reduce the risk of encountering malicious ads that might contain malware.
  • Clear browsing data regularly: This helps protect your privacy and improve browser performance.
  • Stay informed: Keep yourself updated on current cybersecurity threats and best practices.

By following these tips, you can significantly enhance your online browsing security and minimise the risk of online threats.

Friday 1 March 2024

Beware! Crypto Scams Lurk in Popular App Stores

Be cautious when downloading crypto apps, as we've found scams disguised as legitimate offerings on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. While most apps are safe, vigilance is key.

This blog exposes some of the "dodgy apps" we discovered and provides 7 crucial tips to help you avoid falling victim to these scams.

Only apps that include user-to-user content, meaning that they let people upload content for other users to see, are covered by the new Online Safety Act.

Spotting and reporting dodgy apps

Follow Which? seven top tips for spotting a dodgy app:

  1. Review information from the app’s developer including its privacy policy and T&Cs.
  2. Read reviews of the app on more than one platform or website.
  3. Do a quick Google search of the developer and scan its website for the typical scam signs, such as bad grammar and a newly registered URL.
  4. Always enable two-factor authentication when downloading an app, if possible.
  5. Think twice about agreeing to the app’s permissions, as while some apps will need to access certain parts of your phone, if the permissions seem excessive, reconsider downloading it.
  6. Check how recently the app was updated, if an app was updated more than six months ago, then it's one to be wary of.
  7. Check the number of downloads it has as genuine apps have millions or billions of downloads.

To report apps on the Apple App Store, visit Apple's 'Report a problem' website.

To report an app on Google Play, go to the details page of the app, tap ‘more’, flag it as inappropriate, choose a reason and then tap submit.

If you think you may have been scammed, call your bank immediately using the number on the back of your bank card. Then report it to Action Fraud or call the police on 101 if you’re in Scotland.

Stay tuned for the full article to learn how to identify and avoid these hidden threats!

Source: Which? (28 Feb 2024)

Don't Get Trapped: Top 5 Subscription Scams to Avoid

While convenient for many services, recurring payments can also open the door to scams. This article exposes five common traps to be aware of:

Premium Text Alerts (Charge to Bill): These can be used for legitimate purposes like charity donations or TV voting, but they can also result in unexpected charges without requiring your card details.

Remember: Be cautious of unfamiliar phone numbers and services requesting confirmation through text messages.

Stay tuned for the next 4 traps revealed in the full article!

Source: Which? (27 feb 2024)


Be Alert: Which? Reader Loses £96,000 in Complex Pension Scam

A reader contacted Which? after falling victim to a scam involving a cold call and a fake "pension review." They were persuaded to transfer £96,000 into an unauthorized overseas scheme. While Which? could help recover some of the losses, the fight for the remaining funds continues.

This story highlights the danger of pension scams and the importance of seeking expert advice if you suspect you've been targeted. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Source: Which? (28 Feb 2024)

Monday 26 February 2024

Don’t lose out before flying out: Action Fraud urge holiday makers to watch out for fraudsters online

Sun seekers looking to book their summer getaway are being warned to look out for fraudulent deals, as new data released today shows victims lost a staggering £12.3 million to holiday fraud last year.

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting service, has launched a holiday fraud campaign ahead of the summer months, urging holiday goers to play it safe online and do their research before booking their trip. 

Last year, 6,640 reports of holiday fraud were made to Action Fraud and data shows July and August saw highest number of reports made, at 804 and 781 respectively.

Holiday makers lost a combined total of £ 12.3 million, meaning there was an average loss of £1,851 per victim.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“As people think ahead to book their holidays, understandably everyone is increasingly on the lookout for the best deals. With the cost-of-living crisis squeezing our finances, it's easy to forget to stay vigilant against fraudsters offering cheaper deals and great prices that are too good to be true.

“We want to avoid people losing their hard-earned money and help raise awareness of the signs of holiday fraud. Before booking any trips or signing up to any deals, do your research and check for ABTA and ATOL logos before clicking the confirmation button. Remember: stay alert online and be wise to fraudsters.”

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said:

“Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target consumers, with a particular focus on destinations and times of year when demand is high and availability limited, as they know people will be looking for good deals. Victims will often only find out they have been defrauded just before they are due to travel, or even in a resort, when it can be very difficult to find a legitimate replacement leading to yet more cost and potential disappointment.

“One of the simplest ways to protect yourself when booking is to look for a company that is a member of ABTA when booking your holiday.”

Anna Bowles, Head of Consumers and Enforcement at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which runs the ATOL financial protection scheme, said:

“Our research shows almost three in five of us are planning to go overseas this summer and expect to spend thousands of pounds on these trips. Before booking your trip abroad make sure you are doing everything you can to thwart fraudsters.

“Some protective measures include visiting the atol.org website to check your package trip is financially protected by ATOL, pay by credit card if you can, and take out travel insurance as soon as you book.”

Holiday makers are encouraged to take precautions and do their research online to ensure holidays are booked safely, without a hitch. Remember, don’t get caught out and lose out.

Top tips to help prevent falling victim to holiday fraud:

  • Do your research: before committing and booking your dream holiday, make sure that you do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible.
  • Pay safely: use a credit card when shopping online, if you have one. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases.
  • Look for the logo: make sure they're a licensed company and check that they are properly accredited. Look for an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser's Licence) or a membership of ABTA, The Travel Association.
  • Stay safe online: use three random words to create a strong password for your email that’s different to all your other passwords. If a 2-step verification option is available, always set it.
    • Beware of suspicious messages: be cautious of unexpected emails or messages offering unrealistic holiday deals. If you receive a suspicious email, report it by forwarding it to report@phishing.gov.uk
    • Protect personal information: only fill in the mandatory details on a website when making a purchase. If possible, don't create an account for the online store when making your payment.
  • Book with confidence: be sceptical of unrealistic holiday deals. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Exercise caution and research before making purchases.

For further tips from ATOL and ABTA, visit https://www.atol.org/about-atol/how-to-check-for-protection/ or https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/planning-and-booking-a-holiday/how-avoid-travel-related-fraud.

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you live in Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101.

Source: Action Fraud (26-02-2024)

actionfraud.police.uk/holidayfraud


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