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Scams Archives - Surelock
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Be Aware of “Your package has been seized” Scam

  • 8:52 am
  • Fraudsters are sending out virus infected emails that claim a package has been seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.

    The official looking scam emails claiming to be from Royal Mail contain a link to document which will install malicious software on your computer designed to steal credentials like account names, email addresses and passwords etc.

    An example email reads

    Title: Your parcel has been seized

    Royal Mail is sorry to inform you that a package addressed to you was seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.

    A close inspection deemed your items as counterfeit and the manufacturers have been notified. If your items are declared genuine then they will be returned back to you with the appropriate custom charges.

    You may have been a victim of counterfeit merchandise and the RM Group UK will notify you on how to get your money back. Please review the attached PDF document for more information. 

    Document (RM7002137GB).Zip

    Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

    The help the spread of the virus, the emails also says: “you will need to have access to a computer to download and open the Zip file”.

    If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or download any attachments and report it to Action Fraud.

    Advice from Royal Mail on scam emails and how they contact you

    • Royal Mail will never send an email asking for credit card numbers or other personal or confidential information.
    • Royal Mail will never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website.
    • Royal Mail will never include attachments unless the email was solicited by customer e.g. customer has contacted Royal Mail with an enquiry or has signed up for updates from Royal Mail.
    • Royal Mail have also stressed that they do not receive a person’s email address as part of any home shopping experience.

    You can now also sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.

    read more
    by Alex

A Look At Some of the UK’s Most Devious Scams in Recent History

  • 3:10 pm
  • Man with fingers crossed, possibly not to be trustedIt is easy to dismiss scams as something which happen to other people; most notably we consider the elderly to be vulnerable to the despicable wiles of the conman, or maybe we think only those considered ‘less than worldly’ will be duped. However, recent reports show that none of us are immune to the attentions of such tricksters, with professional individuals and even some major companies falling victim to tricksters. Many types of scams are in operation and, sad to say, clever crooks are never beyond devising more ways to part the unsuspecting from their money.  However, a little knowledge can increase our ability to be aware of these crimes and following some basic points can help to protect us from their impact.


    Although we may consider ourselves to be secure as we electronically encode and encrypt our finances, in truth we are only as strong as the weakest link in our defences. A phone call from fraudsters claiming to be ‘your bank’ may persuade you that your account is under threat from unscrupulous individuals and encourage you to disclose information in order to protect your interests. Some may be caught out at this point and give details enabling the con artist to access funds, but others may insist that they phone the bank back to establish its true identity. Unfortunately, this is not the water-tight solution it might be considered; if the victim hangs up and the fraudster doesn’t, the link between the two parties will remain in place when the phone is picked up again, allowing the fraudster to continue with the victim who is under the false impression that they have telephoned their own bank. A solicitor taken in by a scam of this nature leading to the loss of thousands of pounds worth of clients’ funds (referred to as vishing), is now bankrupt and has been suspended from her career. Similar tactics were employed by criminals posing as the police who stole thousands of pounds from mainly elderly people in the London area over a ten week period; they have since been jailed. It is worth remembering that banks and the police will never ask for PIN numbers or passwords, and if you need to telephone a bank or police department to confirm their identity, use a different phone line or mobile to make the call.

    Dating Scams

    Being a victim of a scam often leads the victim feeling hurt and humiliated; this is especially true when it relates to a particularly personal situation such as online dating. This increasingly popular method of meeting others is unfortunately readily exploited by criminals. For example, in July 2015, a conman who posed as a U.S. soldier on a dating site, scamming more than £250,000 out of two women, was sentenced for four and a half years. Security groups, including the police, suggest that those using dating sites refrain from sharing too much personal information and never divulge bank details. They recommend that users are vigilant regarding contacts who readily give them a pet nickname (it’s a one-name-fits-all tactic that will keep things simple when duping a string of individuals). They also stress the need to be wary of those with ‘supermodel’ looks who quickly try to guide individuals away from the website towards a more private (and less scrutinized) method of contact.

    Fake ID Scams and Impersonation Fraud

    Jewellers were also targeted in a crime spree where personal identities were stolen and used to secure finance deals relating to prestigious watches. The thieves were apprehended by security staff and arrested by the police. This is yet another reminder to be vigilant in the use and disposal of personal information; even the humble utility bill is a way in for the criminally-minded. Surelock Global Investigators and Security Consultants have a dedicated surveillance team who supply vital information to the authorities which assists in identifying premises targeted in numerous enforcements.

    Another case of impersonation involving computer hackers pretending to be from Microsoft was reported by the Gloucestershire Echo. Eleven incidents (in Gloucestershire alone) were reported to police in the 12 months leading up to July 2014. The fraudsters cold-called their victims, maintaining that there was a serious problem with their computer. This led to the victims paying large sums of money or giving the criminals access to their computers and bank accounts.

    A couple escaped losing their savings when they became suspicious about a company who approached them regarding their pension plan after they had searched for information about pensions online. The bogus company claimed to be representatives of the Government’s Pension Wise scheme.  A spokesman from Pension Wise stressed that they would never cold-call anyone, and would only respond to a direct inquiry. Suffice to say, it is sensible to never disclose personal information to callers on the phone, via email or in person.

    Bogus Refund Fraud

    A clever scam whereby a fraudster bought items twice from different branches of a store, returning them on both occasions, but only presenting the receipts on the second occasion (claiming loss of receipts on the first), thus being refunded twice, took place between May 2013 and December 2014. Bogus Refund fraud can also take the form of claiming ownership of a more expensive item and swapping for a lower priced item (with the difference being refunded), but where the highest priced item has actually just been stolen. Here is an example case to illustrate this. This is a warning to store managers and shop assistants who should be made aware of such tactics.

    The Cheap Carbon Credits Scam

    Examples are continually cropping up of carbon credits forming the basis of increasingly devious scams. These scams involve passing off cheap carbon credit certificates as high-values ones. The fraudsters try and justify the high prices (sometimes thousands of pounds) by claiming they are linked to environmentally friendly projects.

    Courier Fraud

    Courier scam starts off being similar to vishing (as reported above) whereby criminals contact victims claiming their bank accounts have been subject to fraud, but they go on to persuade the victim to key in or read out their PIN number. This then escalates into sending a taxi or courier around (hence the name of the scam) to collect the bank card and thus gaining full access to the victim’s money. The Evening Standard reported on two “cruel and cunning” fraudsters who used the courier scam tactic, conning elderly people out of large sums of money, even going as far as to scam an elderly person attending a funeral.

    The public are becoming increasingly wary of many kinds of scam. Luckily, organisations such as Action Fraud exist to whom crimes can be reported and also serve to inform the general public. However, on the other side of the coin, criminals remain at large and changes in technology give rise to new types of scam being devised, albeit that technology also advances in unison with that to provide protection. It is also a well-known fact that cyber-crime is becoming increasingly a significant threat, especially to businesses and organisations.

    Surelock Global Investigators and Security Consultants are well positioned to advise, investigate and protect in respect of all kinds of threats and fraud

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    by Alex

Watch Out for Rugby World Cup Limited Lottery Scam

  • 11:17 am
  • The City of London Police and World Rugby are warning fans to be vigilant regarding a growing number of scams in the form of fake lotteries or sweepstakes claiming to be connected with or authorised by Rugby World Cup 2015, Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) and/or World Rugby.

    Rugby-World-Cup_0_0Fans are being contacted (mostly via email), in the name of (or using trademarks associated with) RWCL, Rugby World Cup 2015 and/or World Rugby (formerly known as the International Rugby Board). Some correspondence falsely informs people that they have won a competition through an automated ballot.

    Prizes are supposedly being awarded in a range of currencies that include pounds, dollars and rand, and can be claimed via the payment of an administrative fee, or by submitting personal details to an unofficial e-mail address.

    Won tickets

    Other correspondence tells people that they have won tickets to Rugby World Cup 2015 matches, with ‘winners’ getting the chance to travel to England and Wales to watch the Rugby World Cup 2015 tournament. If you want to buy tickets, see how to avoid being scammed when buying them online.

    A number of reports have now been handed to the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to handle. Their team of experts are reviewing the evidence and working to suspend the email addresses being used to circulate the scam.

    Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, from the City of London Police’s NFIB, said: “This appears to be a classic lottery fraud that is using the good name of the Rugby World Cup to try and persuade people they have won a genuine competition. It is very important that recipients of these scam emails do not make contact in any way with the sender and instead report to us, via Action Fraud.”

    World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset added: “RWCL and World Rugby wishes to assure people that it does not run any form of lottery or sweepstake connected to any of its events or properties, including Rugby World Cup 2015.”

    “Fan experience is at the heart of what promises to be a very special Rugby World Cup and we urge fans to be vigilant and contact Action Fraud immediately if any fraudulent activity is suspected.”

    To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

    You can now also sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.

    Related link
    How to avoid being scammed when buying Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets online

    read more
    by dave

Alert: Scammers are Changing Tactics to Commit Courier Fraud

  • 6:59 am
  • The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) proactive intelligence team is warning people about a new variation of courier fraud involving Foreign Exchange Bureaus.

    As with traditional types of courier fraud, the victim receives a phone call and they are told that they’re speaking to a police officer and that the police want them to assist in an investigation.

    The police officer provides them with a phone number and asks them to call back so that the victim can verify their identity, or will direct the victim to contact their bank. The victim will physically put the phone down, but the fraudster will actually stay on the line – keeping it open. When the victim phones back they are still speaking to the fraudster who tells the victim that they are at risk of being defrauded and to stop this they need their assistance.

    Action Fraud has previously warned about a variation of courier where the victim is asked to buy an expensive item such as a watch or a designer coat. Fraudsters are now evolving their tactics by directing victims to visit Foreign Exchange Bureaus and withdraw foreign currency.

    Withdrawing cash in Euros

    A convicted courier fraudster interviewed by City of London Police detectives said: “The banks are catching on to this now. Whenever an elderly person comes into the bank to withdraw cash saying that they’ve been a victim of fraud they get suspicious. What we do now is tell the victims to draw the cash out from a foreign exchange bureau in Euros. They don’t ask them any questions.”

    The fraudsters will then arrange for the cash to be collected by taxi or courier service.

    Action Fraud has also received reports where suspects posing as police officers or bank staff tell victims told to move their money to a ‘safe’ account that has been created in their name to stop ‘further’ funds being stolen.

    The fraudster also said: “Courier fraud gangs are getting squeezed out of London. What they do now is go to hotels in cities like Manchester and Bristol and stay there for a couple of weeks. They work out of the hotels targeting victims using details from the local telephone and online directories.”

    Protect yourself

    • A genuine police officer would never contact you in this way.
    • Banks and the police would never ask someone to aid an investigation withdrawing or transferring money
    • If you receive one of these calls, end it immediately.

    Victim advice

    • Report this to Action Fraud
    • If you have handed over any bank account details to the fraudster, call your bank and cancel your cards immediately.
    • If you want to call your bank, then do it from another telephone. If you don’t have another telephone to use, call someone you know first to make sure the telephone line is free.

    read more
    by dave

Avoid and Report Internet Scams and Phishing

  • 7:04 pm
  • Report misleading websites, emails, phone calls or text messages you think may be suspicious.

    Don’t give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.

    Misleading websites

    Some websites can look like they’re part of an official government service or that they provide more help than they actually do.

    This might mean you pay for services that you could get cheaper or for free if you used the official government service, eg renewing a passport.

    Search on GOV.UK to find official government services – eg if you want to apply for a driving licence or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

    Contact Action Fraud to report misleading websites. You must include:

    • the website address or URL
    • how you found the website
    • why you thought it was an official government website

    You can report misleading adverts on Google if you’ve clicked on a URL that appears above the normal search results.

    HMRC phishing emails and tax scams

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will never use texts or emails to:

    • tell you about a tax rebate or penalty
    • ask for personal or payment information

    Forward any suspicious emails to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or check HMRC’s guidance on recognising scams if you’re not sure.

    Report a disclosure of personal details to HMRC

    Contact HMRC at security.custcon@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk if you think you’ve given any personal information in reply to a suspicious email or text.

    Include brief details of what you disclosed (eg name, address, HMRC User ID, password) but don’t give your personal details in the email.

    Visas and immigration

    You’ll never be asked to pay for a visa using:

    • cash
    • money transfer

    Contact Action Fraud to report visa and immigration scams. You should include:

    • a copy of the suspicious email you received, the sender’s email address and the date and time it was received
    • details of what you sent in a reply, if you replied – eg whether you sent your bank details, address or password

    You can also report suspicious emails, letters or telephone calls to the police through Action Fraud.

    read more
    by dave

Alert: Fraudsters Buy-Back Diamond Courier Scam

  • 5:29 am
  • The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) proactive intelligence team is warning people of a new scam dubbed “diamond buy-back courier fraud”.

    Information gathered by the NFIB’s proactive intelligence team suggests that boiler rooms operating from overseas (specifically in Thailand) are targeting existing investors of diamonds from victim sucker lists circulated by fraudsters internationally.

    How a typical diamond investment scam works

    Existing clients who have purchased genuine but lesser value diamonds are contacted by fraudsters who ask if they would like to increase the value of their investment as the return on their current stock has been so good.

    They are encouraged to purchase more diamonds and invest further – buying either overpriced or non-existent diamonds.

    How investors are scammed into sending their diamonds through a courier

    In this new type of scam, the victim is contacted and informed that the value of diamond(s) they have physically purchased have significantly increased due to the rarity and demand.

    They are then convinced that in order to revalue the diamond(s) they will need to be physically returned to be assessed by a fake “valuation team”.

    Victims are then offered a free of charge, no hassle return service to undertake the valuation process. Intelligence suggests the fraudsters use UPS (United Postal Service) to collect the diamond(s). The fraudsters have no intention of returning the diamonds.

    Protect yourself against investment fraud

    • If you’re considering any type of investment, always remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. High returns can only be achieved with high risk.
    • If you get a call out of the blue, be wary; if in doubt don’t be polite, just hang up.
    • Take the time to seek independent legal or financial advice before making a decision.
    • Always check the credentials of the company you’re dealing with. Check for known fraudulent organisations at the FCA.

    All the reports taken by Action Fraud are sent to the NFIB who collate and analyse intelligence on fraud – the NFIB then send crimes to law enforcement agencies for investigation, disruption and prevention purposes.

    Recent arrest of diamond investment scammer

    The City of London Police (CoLP) recently arrested an Essex man suspected of working in a London boiler room. CoLP in its role as National Policing Lead for Fraud takes on some of the UK’s most significant, complex and high profile cases of investment fraud

    The man is believed to have made £1.5 million selling fraudulent diamond investments to victims. He was arrested as a result of reports made to Action Fraud.

    To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use the online fraud reporting tool.



    read more
    by dave

Classic Living and Poundsaver Scam

  • 8:17 am
  • If you have had money taken from your account by either Classic Living, Poundsaver or L-EV8 Marketing then you need to contact your bank as soon as possible.

    The parents of one Andover resident recently had this happen to them with £160 being taken from their account but the amounts can be varied. There are currently 30+ pages of complaints on the “Who Calls Me” website along with the phone number associated with it – 0800 1077 333.

    The problem appears to be connected with a TV Shopping Channel called Pitch TV where once a purchase is made, your details are passed on and deductions taken from your account.

    To find out more about the company and the list of programmes they run, see the L-EV8 website.



    read more
    by dave

Facebook Sues Fake ‘like’ Scammers for £1.3bn

  • 11:32 am
  • Facebook logo

    Facebook has vowed to “aggressively get rid of fake likes” on its network.

    The site said it had won more than $2bn (£1.3bn) in legal judgements against scam artists who sold fake likes to businesses.

    Many businesses buy likes to make their products or brands appear more popular.

    But Facebook said bumping up likes this way did “more harm than good”, and could mean companies “could end up doing less business on the social network.

    In a post on its security blog, Facebook said: “We have a strong incentive to aggressively get rid of fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results, not fakes.”

    It explained: “Fake-like-pedlars tempt Page admins with offers to “buy 10,000 likes!” or other similar schemes.

    “To deliver those likes, the scammers often try to create fake accounts, or in some cases, even hack into real accounts in order to use them for sending spam and acquiring more likes.

    “Since these fraudulent operations are financially motivated businesses, we focus our energy on making this abuse less profitable for the spammers.”

    It said as well as the legal action, these efforts included investing in sophisticated anti-spam algorithms.

    An investigation by BBC News in 2012 revealed the extent of the fake like problem.

    BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones set up a fake company – VirtualBagel – to see what happened when he paid for advertising through the network.

    He discovered that many of the likes VirtualBagel received were from suspicious accounts – none of which would have ever been actual customers had his business been real.



    read more
    by Ron

London Arrests over £1m Courier Fraud in South West

  • 1:32 pm
  • A dawn arrest is made by Met Police in London
    Police searched three properties in Tower Hamlets, East London

    Three men have been arrested in London as part of an investigation into a £1m fraud in south-west England.

    Search warrants were executed at three properties in Tower Hamlets, east London, where three 18-year-olds were detained on suspicion of fraud.

    More than 300 mainly elderly people have been tricked out of money, police said.

    Many of those were fooled into sending money to fraudsters pretending to be officers investigating crimes.

    A dawn arrest is made by Met Police in London
    The arrests follow an investigation led by Zephyr, the south-west regional organised crime unit

    “Elaborate and convincing reasons” are used to encourage the victim to withdraw large sums of cash which are then sent to London by taxi or courier, or transferred electronically to a fraudulent bank account, said police.

    The fraudster claims the money is potential evidence for an investigation and is needed for forensic examination.

    One victim handed over £40,000.

    ‘Despicable crime’

    A three-month investigation has been led by Zephyr, the south-west regional organised crime unit, supported by Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire police forces.

    Det Ch Insp Will White, of Zephyr, said: “Today’s arrests should provide some reassurance that we are working with colleagues in forces in the South West to tackle this despicable form of crime which preys in the main on the elderly and vulnerable.”

    Nine out of every 10 people contacted have been aged over 60, police said.

    “Broadly the same approach has been used by a number of fraudsters across the South West and in other parts of the country. The scam started in the south east of England but has spread much wider,” said Mr White.

    “The police and the banks will never ask you for banking details or Pin numbers on the phone.

    “Similarly, they would never send a so-called ‘courier’ to collect bank cards or money.”




    read more
    by Ron

The Little Book of Big Scams