"Each month we see many incidents of fraudsters targeting our residents in an attempt to defraud them. We’re working hard to prevent this and support vulnerable victims of fraud or scams. By following our tips and encouraging family, friends and colleagues to do so too, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim." Detective Chief Inspector Simon Doyle Surrey Police and Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit
Remote access scams
These sometimes complex frauds are on the rise both locally and nationally with a variety of methods being reported. Typically, the victim is contacted by telephone by someone claiming to be a representative from a known business.
The caller will then convince the victim to install a piece of software that enables them to have remote access to their computer. In a recent East Sussex example, the caller said they were calling from BT and asked the elderly victim to install software called 'Anydesk'.
During a typical call, the victim is instructed to login to their online banking account. Once the victim has done this, the remote access software is used to blur the victim’s screen while the scammer makes fraudulent transactions from the victim’s account without their knowledge.
The victim may be asked to read out a series of numbers the scammer claims they have sent to the victim’s mobile. In reality, the numbers are a one-time verification code from the victim’s bank which, if shared with the scammer, will allow them to transfer money out of the victim’s bank account. In this particular example the victim lost over £1,500.
Some victims reported a slightly different version of how the scam was perpetrated. However, the goal of the scammers remains the same – to convince victims to login to their online banking account at the same time as the scammer has remote access to their computer.
How to protect your business from remote access scams:
Never install any remote access software on your device as a result of an unsolicited telephone call, browser pop up, or text message.
The one-time verification codes sent to you by your bank to authorise transactions on your account should never be shared with anyone, even bank employees.
Do you know who can see what you post on social media?
Maintain restrictive privacy settings.
Only accept trusted friends and family onto your friends lists.
If your posts are made 'public' it means criminals can see what you’re planning on the weekend, for example. It could also increase the chances you will be spear phished or be targeted with an online scam.
Do you use smart devices?
Smart devices can be a security risk if not managed properly.
Keep firmware up to date and ensure you use a unique and strong password, changed from the default manufacturer password.
Ensure you review access to smart devices regularly.
Digital Ambassador scheme
West Sussex County Council, in partnership with Get Safe Online, is looking for volunteers to help educate and support residents to become safer online. You don’t have to be a digital expert, you just need a very basic understanding of the internet and a passion to help others work, learn, and connect with each other as safely as possible.
Once trained by the experts from Get Safe Online, you’ll form part of a new group of Digital Ambassadors and will be able to choose how you engage with your communities to get the online safety message out to residents.
Training to become a Digital Ambassador will take place on either 25 October or 10 November and all materials will be provided, as well as ongoing mentoring and support to help you deliver advice effectively and confidently.
If becoming a Digital Ambassador seems like the volunteering role for you, please email [email protected] to register your interest by 12pm on Monday 9 October 2023.