Phishing & other scams

Familiarise yourself with some of the most common types of fraud – and know what to do if you think someone’s trying to trick you.
 

Phishing

Phishing is a common type of fraud where a fraudster tries to trick people into revealing their online security passwords. The passwords will then be used to gain access to online accounts and commit theft.

Share fraud and boiler rooms scams

Share fraud scams sell worthless or overpriced shares and are often run from 'boiler rooms' full of salespeople using high pressure, unfair and dishonest cold calling sales techniques. These scams can also come by email, post, word of mouth, at seminars, in the press, or online. If people already own shares in a company they may receive a call from someone offering to buy them, usually at a higher price than their market value. This might sound like a great deal, but it will likely come with a request for money upfront as a bond or other form of security, which the fraudsters say they will pay back if the sale does not go ahead. In reality the victim never hears from them again.

Inheritance scam

Victims are told that they are due inheritance from a long lost relative who lived abroad and to receive it they just need to attend a hearing the next day. When the victim can't attend due to the short notice, the fraudster asks them to send money to pay for an official to attend on their behalf. In reality the inheritance doesn't exist and the victim loses their money.

Dating scam

Dating scams are when victims think they've met their perfect partner online when in reality they are fraudsters.
Once the fraudsters are confident that they've gained the victim's trust, sympathy and desire for them, they will tell them about an emotive problem they are experiencing and ask the victim for money to help. For example: They're arranging to visit the victim but need money to pay for travel costs, visa costs etc. Or they've paid for a plane ticket which is then stolen. A family member or someone else they are responsible for is ill and they need money for medical treatment. Once the victim sends them money, the fraudster will keep coming back with more reasons to send them money.

Telephone scams (Vishing)

A victim receives a call from a fraudster pretending to be either their building society/bank or the police. They tell the victim that their card is at risk of being used fraudulently or that there is a problem with their account, and advise them to call their building society/bank. The fraudster will then hold the line open by not ending the call. When the victim calls their building society/bank, they unwittingly speak to the fraudster who may persuade them to transfer funds, withdraw money, or reveal security information.

Courier scam

This is similar to a vishing scam but after gaining the victim's trust, the fraudster will advise them that they will send a courier to their home to collect the card and take it to their building society/bank or to the police. The fraudster may use the card and pin to withdraw funds from the victims account or to make purchases.

Competition/lottery scams

In this scam the fraudster contacts people to tell them they've won a large sum of money in an international lottery, sweepstake or other prize draw. In order to claim their non-existent winnings, the victim is asked to send money to cover various fees such as taxes, legal fees, banking fees, etc. Often victims are not given time to think or ask for advice as they are pressured into responding quickly to avoid missing out. The result is that victims lose their money rather than winning a prize. If victims respond to the fraudster, they may be asked to supply personal information and copies of official documents, such as their passport, as proof of identity. The fraudsters can then use this information to steal the victim's identity

Work at home and business opportunity scams

A business opportunity which claims to offer a quick way to make a lot of money from home without having any qualifications, skills or expertise, is advertised in local newspapers, magazines, shop windows, on lamp posts, on the web or in a letter. Before starting any work the victim has to pay money upfront, usually in the form of a registration fee or to enable the 'employer' to buy goods. After this money has been paid, the victim either finds that there is either no work to do or that they will not be paid for any work they have done.

Mystery shopper

Victims are offered the chance to work as a mystery shopper evaluating international money transfer outlets such as Western Union. The victim receives a cheque to deposit into their account and then pay cash to the fraudster via Western Union to test the Western Union service. However, after the victim has sent the funds, the cheque is identified as fraudulent and bounces meaning they are never paid back. Victims can also unwittingly commit the offence of money laundering on behalf of the fraudster by opening an account, accepting money in and then transferring back to fraudster.

Smishing - the term combines "SMS" and "phishing"

Smishing is basically a phishing scam that is sent via Short Message Service (SMS) text messages. Fraudsters send people an SMS text message, claiming to be from their building society/bank or service provider, asking them to do something. While most people are familiar with email phishing scams, they're less aware of smishing scams and are less wary of these text messages. Smishing scams often direct people to visit a website or request that they call a phone number. If the victim visits the website, it may attempt to infect their computer with Malware (malicious software). If they call the number, they may be asked for sensitive information, like a credit card number, which the fraudster may use or sell on.

Advance fee fraud

Advance fee fraud is when fraudsters target victims by asking them to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that never actually materialise.

Please contact us immediately if you are concerned that:

You may have disclosed any confidential information to an unknown third party. You believe a transaction on your account is fraudulent. You are a victim of identity theft. You have any concerns about security.

For more information on current fraud scams, please visit the following websites