Article by George Coburn - 1st July 2016

Scams The UK Public Have Been Reporting Recently

With incidents of fraud on the rise, Action Fraud has published details of the scams currently being reported to it in the hope of raising consumer awareness of the importance of being vigilant.

The UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre has found fraudsters are increasingly using social media to sell a variety of tickets that are either counterfeit or, simply, don’t exist. During 2015, it was found that online ticket fraud increased by 55% - at the cost of £52m to the UK public. One thing people can be doing to protect themselves and others is by not sharing pictures of their tickets as these are being used by fraudsters to trick other people into thinking their tickets are valid. Once a fraudster has a copy of a ticket, they’re able to edit it with software to make it seem like they have multiple different ones.

Another scam involves fraudsters calling members of the public and claiming to be from HMRC in relation to historic debts. Somewhat unconventionally, the victim is then asked to settle the outstanding debt by purchasing iTunes vouchers and reading the serial number to the fraudster. There was one case reported to Hertfordshire police where an elderly person was coerced into buying just shy of £22,000 of vouchers.

Action Fraud also found scammers using well known websites to target people looking for a rental property. When a potential tenant shows an interest in an advertised property, the fraudsters trick them into paying a fee in order to ‘secure’ it. As you’d expect, these properties are usually not available and many people are being tricked into putting a deposit down. By advertising on legitimate sites, it adds authenticity to the listing, and Action Fraud recommends only ever sending money online when you are 100% sure you know who you’re sending it to.

Businesses are also being targeted by criminals, with Action Fraud seeing an increasing number of reports from companies experiencing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from a group who then ask for a fee to stop a further, more substantial, attack.

Finally, Action Fraud is warning people of scammers installing fake letterboxes and then using them to harvest the victim’s post. By doing this, the fraudsters are able to apply for credit and keep the victim in the dark about it. Action Fraud recommends double checking that you are receiving all of your expected statements and if in any doubt, to get in touch with the relevant lender.

Keeping a close eye on your Credit Report is a good way of ensuring that no rogue accounts have been opened in your name – either at your home address or any that are linked to you.

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