Beware charity fraud, fake phone discounts and delivery cons

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Exposing the ever-changing tactics that scammers are using to extract money and information, its alerts include:

Turkey Syria earthquake and charity fraudsters

Cifas is hearing reports of fraudsters posing as charitable organisations and using social media to ask for donations to help those affected by the earthquake.

Reports suggest phishing campaigns have already been sent attempting to trick members of the public into clicking a variety of links to make blood donations and charity donations.

Anyone wanting to make a financial donation should use a charity’s official website or use the charity register to check it is legitimate:

Fake phone bill discounts

Crooks have been contacting individuals claiming to be from their phone provider, advising them that they are eligible for a discount on their phone bill to help with the cost-of-living crisis. Victims are then asked a number of questions designed to obtain their personal information which can then be used for fraud.

Remember: only give your information to services you have consented to and are expecting to be contacted by. If you are unsure as to whether it is a legitimate call, then don’t be afraid to hang up and contact your service provider using details provided on any correspondence you have from them. Anyone that thinks they have been the victim of fraud must inform their bank and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or Police Scotland by dialling 101.

Facebook Marketplace fakes

Facebook Marketplace sellers are being targeted by criminals posing as legitimate buyers. Under the pretence of not being able to collect the item, they claim they will be arranging for a courier to collect and pay for the item on their behalf. The ‘buyer’ then asks for the seller to contribute to the insurance cost for transporting the item, promising reimbursement when it is received. The seller then receives an email requesting payment from a fake courier company which includes a malicious link designed to steal personal and financial information.

Cifas is reminding the public to be wary of being asked to pay for goods or services upfront, and never share financial or personal details. Anyone that thinks they may have been the victim of this type of fraud must inform their bank immediately and report the incident to Action Fraud.

WhatsApp employment “opportunities”

WhatsApp users have reported receiving messages offering job opportunities with enticing hourly salaries for UK locations. Once they reply, users are then asked to pay money for work equipment or employment screening checks, as well as provide bank details or identity documents.

Cifas is warning jobseekers never to respond to adverts offering large sums of money for minimal effort, and always research potential employers by conducting their own background checks to make sure details are genuine. For further advice, visit the Jobsaware website:

Fraudsters impersonating financial advisors

Cifas understands that criminals have been using LinkedIn and other social media platforms including TikTok and Instagram to pose as financial advisors. These fraudsters are advising social media users to visit genuine looking websites which are designed to steal money and information from users.

Criminals have also been impersonating financial experts and using WhatsApp to offer access to cryptocurrency investment online chat groups. These groups are often populated by bots (software programmes that are fake accounts with fake personalities) rather than real people offering investment schemes promising lucrative returns on small investments.

Cifas is reminding people to be cautious of approaches of exclusive investment opportunities and remember that only criminals will pressure people to act quickly. Always check the FCA’s register for regulated firms and individuals before parting with money or information.

Amber Burridge, head of intelligence for Cifas, says: “Always think carefully before responding to unsolicited calls, texts or emails, and remember that challenging any requests for money or personal information could keep you safe.

“If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud then you must tell your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud. Only by remaining vigilant can we begin to stop criminals from exploiting the public.”

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