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)

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 h...