Latest Fraud Prevention | Occupational Safety

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The UK trade body providing fraud prevention services, typically to banks and insurers, Cifas, has received reports that criminals are contacting individuals and falsely claiming that Cifas will help them recover money lost to of a scam. The criminals present documents and falsely claim that they will be able to help the individual in this scheme, which is supposed to steal personal information and money from potential victims. This service is not provided by Cifas, and victims of fraud are encouraged to report it to Action Fraud (the reporting line covering England and Wales) or Police Scotland, in addition to their bank.

The public are reminded to remain alert to a variety of fraud that may be circulating around the weekend’s Grand National race at Aintree. Fake betting sites, fake social media contests, ticket scams, fraudulent tipping sites and illegal lending are all examples of possible fraudulent behavior that could be associated with the event.

Anyone who engages in activities such as buying tickets or placing bets does so only using official sources and websites. Anyone who thinks they have been scammed should report it, again, to Action Fraud or Police Scotland, and their bank.

Those placing bets during the festival are also reminded of the dangers of chargeback fraud. In these cases, someone falsely claims that their account was used without their authorization and requests a refund from their card issuer. Betting companies have several checks in place to detect instances of chargeback fraud and will take action against those caught doing so.

Electric meter scams

Many energy providers have issued customer alerts as many prepaid customers have been offered reduced energy prices by criminals. Using illegal techniques, criminals claim to be able to top up meters for a reduced fee. However, energy companies can detect when they have not received the correct payment for energy used and will charge the individual for it, causing victims to pay more for their energy.

Those approached for such scams are advised to turn them down and report it to Action Fraud or Police Scotland for investigation.

WhatsApp campaign

A new email phishing campaign has targeted at least 27,000 email addresses claiming to display a notification from WhatsApp that the recipient has received a private voicemail message. The email displays an image of a “play” button, which, when clicked, takes users to a website that asks users to install software. This software is actually malware designed to steal information from users. WhatsApp users are encouraged not to click on links in emails and instead use the official WhatsApp app on their device to read and listen to messages.

Easter egg hunt scam

Cadburys chocolate factory has confirmed that a competition circulating on Facebook and WhatsApp offering the chance to win a free Easter basket is not legitimate. In messages containing a photo of a white rabbit in front of a large historic house, recipients are encouraged to “Join the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt” by following a link to a website. This website then asks recipients for their personal information to participate.

Recipients are encouraged not to click on links in emails and text messages and to always do their research before submitting their personal data.

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Amber Burridge, Head of Fraud Intelligence at Cifas, said: “Criminals are always trying new ways to deceive people with their personal information and money. Always do your research before parting with your details or money, for example by visiting trusted review sites, contacting organizations through the details listed on their official website or checking records held by organizations such as FCA.

“Criminals have no regard for who they cheat money on, which means it’s important that individuals remain alert to potential scams during the current cost of living crisis.”

The cost of living crisis was also highlighted last month by the managing director of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), John Herriman. He said: “This is a critical time for regulators to work together to close emerging gaps in a rapidly changing online market. Despite significant budget cuts over the past decade, Trade Standards Services continually works in partnership with other agencies, going above and beyond to protect consumers.

“CTSI is in constant dialogue with the UK government and key stakeholders to ensure UK consumers are safe when shopping on the high street and online. The risks highlighted by Consumers International underscore the urgent need for a strategy consumer protection that takes into account the resources available for effective regulation.

What to do

For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. To report scams in England and Wales, contact Action Fraud. In Scotland, contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 800 9060; in Northern Ireland, call Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.

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