"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
Black Friday deals – shop safely over the festive period
Online shopping provides criminals with an opportunity to deceive people on retail and auction sites and via social media selling platforms. This could be by paying for goods and services that don’t exist, or through using images taken from genuine sellers to convince you of the legitimacy of a product. Be aware of fake brands and counterfeit goods.
Criminals will sometimes use cloned websites to convince you that you’re purchasing from a genuine site. They may also ask for upfront payments, or send you fake receipts and invoices that appear to be from the payment provider.
This time of year, we see buyers paying deposits for electronic goods, in particular games consoles, mobile phones and other electronic devices and subsequently never receiving the products. You may also be asked for payment for courier delivery services or insurance when buying and selling online.
Stay on the website – be wary of being asked to move to a different platform.
Use the recommended payment method or you may not be eligible for a refund.
Do some research – check the sellers history.
Check the URL (link) of the website – it may have been cloned.
Do not pay by bank transfer.
Fraudsters may offer items for sale at a discounted price, the deals may sound too good to be true.
Sellers may pressure you into making a quick decision due to it being a limited offer or similar.
Financial abuse by a known person
Financial abuse comes in a number of guises. Sadly, we have seen cases increase across Sussex and Surrey with 34 cases recorded just last month with a financial loss to victims totalling £8,332.62.
The cases span a variety of MOs but include:
High instances of abuse by carers. Victims have trusted them to help with their shopping and given them their bank card and PIN, and the carer then takes advantage of this and starts using the victim's card for their own benefit.
We have also seen similar examples where grandchildren are being trusted to help care for their grandparents, and go on to abuse their trust by using their bank card for their own gain, or stealing blank cheques and filling them in.
Another scenario is targeted as those with mental health concerns – people known to them have been financially exploiting them for their own gain; including attending the banks with them, asking them to withdraw money and hand it to them, on some occasions to purchase illegal drugs.
Did you see our Free Cyber Security Webinar last month?
Ask yourself, were you expecting this communication?
Is the message trying to make you panic or promote a sense of urgency or scarcity to entice you to click a link?
Often phishing messages will be written in poor English and contain grammar and spelling errors.
In the workplace, phishing emails are often sent on a Friday before people leave for the weekend.
Check the sender's address and the link text. Hover over it with your cursor and you will usually see red flags. Instead of nhs.uk you may see a subtle variation such as www.nh5.ru or www.nhs.uk-403431.uk
Don’t click links. Close the message and go to the relevant website to get to where you need to go.
Is your friend or family member sending you something that doesn’t seem right? Or claiming to be contacting you after losing their phone? Be suspicious. Contact them via a trusted and usual method (or third party) and ask if they sent the message to you. They will likely tell you their account was hacked recently so don’t click on anything sent.
Another tip – if you are using a modern email provider such as Gmail or Outlook, you can mark malicious emails as spam and report to [email protected]. Your email provider will learn from what you’re marking as spam and filter out more of these emails so you get less of them in the future.
Suspect you or someone you know has been victim to a scam?