Covid-19 related scam advice

Criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to try and get their hands on your money and personal information. To date, Action Fraud has received reports from 2,378 victims of Coronavirus-related scams, with the total losses reaching over £7 million.
How you can protect yourself from Coronavirus-related scams:
There are some simple steps you can take that will protect you from the most common Coronavirus-related scams. Here’s what need to do:

1 – Watch out for scam messages
Your bank, or other official organisations, won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text. If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): report@phishing.gov.uk

2 – Shopping online
If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, for example, by checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, other payment providers may not provide the same protection.

3 – Unsolicited calls and browser pop-ups offering tech support
Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer, as a result of a cold call. Remember, legitimate organisations would never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.

NHS Test and Trace scams:

The NHS Test and Trace service plays an important role in the fight against coronavirus and it’s vital the public have confidence and trust in the service. However, we understand the concerns people have about the opportunity for criminals to commit scams.

What you need to know:

Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000. Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.

All text or emails sent by NHS Test and Trace will ask people to sign into the contact tracing website and will provide you with a unique reference number. We would advise people to type the web address https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk directly into their browser, followed by the unique reference number given to you, rather than clicking on any link provided in the message.

The NHS Test and Trace service will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to Action Fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you live in Scotland, please report directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.​​​​​​​

criminals operate on the estate

I have noticed people in yellow vests, looking like care takers rummaging through rubbish bins and also on one occasion a person wearing a Tower Hamlets Homes vest knocked on my door and asked to be let in to test the water temperature in my bath room. I contacted Tower Hamlets Homes who have nobody doing such a job. Neither did the man have any ID.

Many people now use fake vests to pretend to be from an organisation. It is very important to not open the door without the safety chain in place until you know who is there and that you can trust them.

Many mail order firms now text you an estimated arrival time or even let you trace the whereabouts of the delivery driver online.

Those criminals in person are the ones you can see but those who contact us using the phone or email are another danger to our safety and security. Advice about phishing is given on this page and widely availabel online.

I had a call on my phone screaming at me to immediately push a number button or I shall be arrested. Probably they rented a premium line and I would have been charged a lot for answering the call or they wanted details of my bank accounts.

It is safe to use a landline with an answer machine and only answer once the caller speaks onto the tape and you know who is calling and then answer the call rather than answering any call without knowing who calls. Some caller displays show incorrect numbers, which I noticed when I reported such a case to Action Fraud action-fraud-logo-bigto make a complaint. click this link to get to their website.

 

Stay safe.

National Cybercrime survey

I am an old hand in electronic communiations. I can immediately tell when an e-mail is malicious, fraudulent or plain nonsense.

Many fraudulent e-mails appear genuine and can fool recipients.

An easy trick to tell if an e-mail is from the promised sender is click on the contact and see the e-mail address it comes from. If it pretends to be from a bank but the e-mail address is obviously different from the bank’s domain, delete the whole thing and if you have the time (recommended) inform the institution the e-mail pretends to come from.

But to help combat cybercrime better please complete this survey.

Report e-mail scams

Many of us get them all the time. Often they appear to be from banks or other reputable institutions. Often enough they ask you to log into your account and give your username and password. The page you are supposed to log into, looks genuine. I immediately recognise scams because they always ask me for sensitive information. They ask me to verify my log in details or my account will be closed. Sometimes they even appear to come from sources that appear genuine. Some ask us to provide banking details because someone wants to channel large amounts of money out of Africa.

If at doubt, do not log in. Forward the whole e-mail to the National Fraud Authority for Analysis. email@actionfraud.org.uk 

The immediate advise is if you receive a fraudulent communication:

  • Do not click on any links
  • Do not reply to the e-mail or contact the senders
  • If you have clicked on a link in the e-mail, do not supply any information on the website that may open
  • Do not open any attachments
  • Visit the Action Fraud website

Source: Action Fraud

Phishing scams

Currently I am getting an enormous amount of phishing e-mails and they usually go to huge mailing lists, so I thought I share my concerns with you.

They come from all sorts of banks,even the ones I do not bank with, include an eBay address and even Shell.

They usually ask you to verify your log in details, promise that you won money and all you need to do is send some money to get the huge amount you’ve won or give your banking details.

Also very popular are e-mails that promise you a job and all you have to do is accept money into an account and you get 10% of the money, that is money laundering in my view.

Also mainly of African origin are the ones that ask you to take receipt of monies from Africa, e.g. widows want to get money out of the country and ask you to receive it for you, also money laundering or just an attempt to get hold of your account details for ID fraud or clear out your account.

Yesterday I had a warning that an e-mail is going around that contains a virus titled Convite.

Having been a webmaster since over 10 years at the worst times I can get as much as 300 dodgy e-mails per day and I am well used to spotting the nasty ones.

Advice: Do not follow any links about banking, eBay account verification, do not give your bank account details, do not send money to get a bigger prize. If in doubt ask me for advice, which I will give as much as my time allows.

If you are unsure you can check by looking at the URL, does it start with https, what is the rest of the web addres. Go to the website of the bank or eBay and look what it says at the top line and then compare it with the URL the phishing scam wants to send you to. They often look and sound genuine on first sight, so it can be tricky, but just to save yourself time, do not look at all and talk to your bank.