Telephone Scams

Please read the comments on the home page updated May 2017.
Please suggest to your friends they should read these posts.

Late May update, information from Devon and Cornwall police.

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Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

 

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t call numbers from pop-up messages.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer.
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.
  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

If you believe you have already been a victim

  • Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.
  • Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.

Report fraud and cyber crime to Actionfraud.police.uk

Beware the other telephone scams circulating at the moment.

As information is circulated and people ‘get wise’ to scams the thieves ‘dream up’ new ways of deceiving us, here is the most recent scam to come to our attention but please check the others below. Please don’t get caught out.

We’ve all received emails which say ‘if you are not the intended recipient of this email please delete it’. This latest scam email is signed ‘a responsible member of the public’. It says they have received an email intended for you, they have some of your personal details, they say you should open an attachment to find out the sort of information which could have been illegally obtained. DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENT, if you do your files will be encrypted and you will be asked to pay to have them ‘unlocked’.
Fortunately the English and the grammar are very bad so it’s easy to spot.

This one could catch most of us out . You receive a very convincing email from the police saying you have committed a crime, speeding for example, you are invited to open an attachment to find out the details. DO NOT open the attachment, if you do a virus enters your computer and you lose all your files etc. The advice is:-
a) if you are sure you have committed no offence delete the email
b) in any case phone the police direct, check the email and report the contact.

The second scam involves a telephone call saying you owe money from some time ago and if you do not pay the debt the police will call at your door. You are advised to withdraw money from a cashpoint and a courier will meet you to collect it. Please ignore these calls and report them to the police using the numbers at the end of the page.

Please stay safe and keep your money in YOUR account.

PCSO Colin Rider put several warnings in the Parish Magazine and these are still current, you would do well to read his advice. Thank you Colin for keeping an eye on ‘our patch’ for many years

Here is some of the information distributed by Colin on behalf of Devon & Cornwall Constabulary.

OCTOBER 2015

POLICE in South Devon are warning residents about the latest scam that has seen some victims duped out of thousands of pounds.

Computer Software Service Fraud, also known as the Microsoft Tech Team Scam, relates to predominantly Indian call centres cold calling victims claiming to be from legitimate businesses, such as Microsoft.

The caller states that there is an issue with the victim’s computer, which they say they will fix for a fee.

Whilst typical losses are around £200, there have been instances of some victims being subjected to repeat victimisation leading to large losses, in one instance more than £70,000.

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This may include the compromise of online banking details, installation of malware including computer viruses, and obtaining personal identifiable information.

The National Fraud Investigation Bureau is undertaking enquiries around a number of alleged companies who are exploiting victims using this method. One of these companies, claiming to be called Ask PC Experts, regularly changes its phone numbers and business name.

Detective Inspector Claire Stalley, Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said, “You will never be contacted by phone by Microsoft or your internet provider stating your computer has been compromised and for a fee it can be fixed. “Never pass your bank details to anyone who cold calls or let someone have control of your computer remotely – it will be a scam”.
Fraud and potential scams can be reported to Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, via http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or by calling 0300 123 2040.

JANUARY 2016

A gentleman received a phone call from what the caller said was the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service?). The caller ID on the potential victims phone showed a number of 02077304761. The caller said his name was Neil Thomas from the CPS and gave a contact number of 03302233908. The caller Neil Thomas said he was calling people in the TQ14 postcode area to stop cold calls and silent calls. (The gentleman could hear background voices that made like Neil Thomas was calling from a call centre). Neil Thomas went on to say that in order to block these calls there would be a monthly fee of £4.00, but as he was a pensioner this would be reduced to £1.90. Neil Thomas then told the potential victim this fee would be collected by Direct Debit and said he would not need his bank sort code or account number and told the potential victim the first 4 digits of his Debit Card. The potential victim said they were not the first 4 digits and gave Neil Thomas the actual digits. (This would identify the potential victims account as with LLoyds) Neil Thomas then asked the potential victim for the remaining card digits, but becoming alarmed he refused to give them. Neil Thomas became a little pushy saying you will continue getting waste of time calls if you do not subscribe etc. The potential victim terminated the call. He described the voice Neil Thomas has as English and well spoken with a neutral accent. this was an attempt to access the potential victims current account. NEVER GIVE CARD DETAILS OVER THE ‘PHONE.

FRAUD MYTHS

Myth – It’s ok to let people put money in my bank account even if I don’t know them and don’t really understand why they are transferring me the money.
Truth – Whether you do so in return for payment or out of a sense of duty, this is clearly a no-no. In letting someone else use your account, you might be laundering the proceeds of crime or aiding other crimes – thereby leaving your self open to face prosecution. Myth – Bank staff might ask you for your Pin number or online banking password to check who you are when they call you.
Truth – BANK STAFF WILL NEVER ask for your 4-digit card PIN number or online banking password when speaking with you over the phone. They would never ask you to tap them into the telephone keypad either.
Myth – When someone phones me, the caller number displayed must be genuine.
Truth – NUMBERS CAN EASILY B ‘SPOOFED’ to mislead the person answering the call, never trust the number you see on your telephone’s display. And like telephone numbers, text messages can also be spoofed to look like they are coming from elsewhere even if the text appears in the same chain as previous messages!
Myth -Public wi-fi is secure and provides a safe forum in which I can do my online banking, shopping etc.
Truth – Any DATA SENT THROUGH PUBLIC WI-FI CAN EASILY BE INTERCEPTED. If you are using a mobile device over public wi-fi, you are risking the security of your personal information, digital identity, and your money. Risks are even greater if your device or computer is not protected by an effective security system.
Myth – It is always safe to make charitable donations to street collectors or via charity mailing.
Truth – MOST COLLECTIONS ARE GENUINE but check before giving to make sure your money goes to genuine, registered charities. FURTHER ADVICE ON SAFER GIVING CAN BE FOUND ON THE CHARITY COMMISSION WEBSITE.
Myth – Downloading digital content illegally is harmless.
Truth – This type of crime is far from victimless and has SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS. Doing so can result in money being used to fund the activities of serious organised crime groups and also has an adverse impact on creative industries and the UK economy. Legitimate, high quality, content is easy to find, but if you want reassurance head to http://www.thecontentmap.com to find out some of the options available.
Myth- Changing details on my insurance policy or making an inflated insurance claim is not really fraud as everyone does it, I won’t get caught and Insurers can afford it anyway.
Truth – INSURANCE FRAUD IS A CRIME that is taken seriously by both insurers and police. The cost of fraud does not affect just insurers, but members of the public also. the chances of being caught are high and the impact on people’s lives notable, at the worst end of the spectrum innocent members of the public can be injured or even killed in deliberate collisions caused by fraudsters.
Myth – Money Transfer Systems are always safe ways of making payments.
Truth – This is only the case if you personally know and can verify the person that you are sending the money to; you should NEVER USE THESE SSERVICES TO SEND MONEY OR PAYMENT TO SOMEBODY YOU DO NOT KNOW, as once the cash is collected, the recipient is untraceable and the money is not refundable.
Myth – If I have anti-virus installed on my device (PC, Mobile, Tablet) I am fully protected from viruses.
Truth – NOT TRUE – anti-virus provides a very strong layer of protection to your device it can still be by-passed by sophisticated viruses aka malware. Users should still keep a cautious mind when confronted with unusual requests for personal information from a pop up or on any website they visit.
Myth – I can always trust the people I meet online dating sites as they will have been vetted before been allowed to join.
Truth – ALWAYS BE CAUTIOUS about the people you meet online, especially if they start asking for money to help a family member, to visit you or pay medical bills etc. Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust.
Myth – It doesn’t really matter what information I post on social media sites as only my friends can read it.
Truth – By getting your privacy settings wrong or accepting people you don’t know as friends, YOU MAY BE GIVING FRAUDSTERS VALUABLE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU AND YOUR HABITS. Personal details can be used to guess passwords, habits and vulnerabilities so you need to check your social media settings regularly. All personal information is valuable and fraudsters are very good at filling in the missing information.
Myth – There’s nothing in my personal emails that anyone would care about.
Truth – HACKERS CAN USE YOUR EMAIL to gain access to all your personal accounts. Make your password stronger with three random words.
Myth – If a company has a registered website then it must be legitimate.
Truth – IT TAKES JUST MINUTES TO SET UP A WEBSITE in any name you want and at minimal cost which means fraudsters can set-up as website just as easily as anyone else.

USEFUL CONTACTS
https://www.devon-cornwall.policy.uk/crime-prevention/your-money/fraud/
ACTIONFRAUD 0300 123 2040
CRIMESTOPPERS: 800 555 111