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Fraud Focus - Impersonations of Cifas, Grand National and Electricity Meter Scams

8 April 2022

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is highlighting the latest fraud threats and warning the public to stay vigilant of the ever-changing tactics that scammers are using to extract money and information.

Impersonating Cifas

Cifas has received reports that criminals are contacting individuals and falsely claiming Cifas will assist them recover money lost to a scam. Criminals are presenting documentation and falsely claiming they will be able to assist the individual as part of this scheme, which is believed to be stealing personal details and money from potential victims.

This service is not provided by Cifas, and victims of fraud are encouraged to report this to Action Fraud or Police Scotland, in addition to their bank.

Grand National Scams

The public is being reminded to remain to alert to a variety of frauds that may be circulating around tomorrow’s Grand National race at Aintree.

Fake betting websites, bogus social media competitions, ticket scams, fraudulent tipping sites and unlawful loans are all examples of possible fraudulent behaviour that could be associated with the event.

It is crucial that anyone engaging in activities such as purchasing tickets or placing bets does so only using official sources and websites. Anyone who believes they have been scammed should report this to Action Fraud or Police Scotland, as well as their bank.

Those placing bets during the festival are also reminded of the dangers of chargeback fraud. In these instances, individuals falsely claim their account was used without their permission and request a refund from their card issuer. Betting companies have several controls in place to detect instances of chargeback fraud and will act against those caught doing so.

Electricity Meter Scams

Numerous energy suppliers have issued alerts to customers as many pre-payment customers have been offered discounted energy prices by criminals. By using illegal techniques, criminals claim to be able to top-up meters for a cut-price fee. However, energy companies can detect when they have not received correct payment for the energy used and will charge the individual for this, resulting in victims paying more for their energy.

Those who are approached for such scams are advised to decline these and report this to Action Fraud or Police Scotland for them to investigate.

WhatsApp Voice Message Phishing Campaign

A new email phishing campaign has targeted at least 27,000 email addresses claiming to show a notification from WhatsApp stating the recipient has received a private voice message. The email displays a picture of a ‘play’ button, which when clicked takes users through to a website that asks users to install software. This software is in fact malware deigned to steal information from users.

WhatsApp users are encouraged to not click on links in emails and instead use the official WhatsApp application on their device to read and listen to messages.

Easter Egg Hunt Scam

Cadburys have 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 picture of white rabbit in front of a large historic home, 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 in order to participate.

Recipients are encouraged to not click on links in emails and texts and to always do their research before handing over their personal details.

Commenting on the latest threats to individuals, Cifas’ Head of Fraud Intelligence, Amber Burridge, said: ‘Criminals are always trying new ways to trick people out of their personal details and money.

‘Always do your research before parting ways with your details or money, such as by looking at trusted review sites, contacting organisations through details listed on their official website or checking against registers held by organisations such as the FCA.

‘Criminals have zero regard for who they trick out of money, meaning it’s important individuals remain alert to potential scams during the current cost of living crisis.’

Further information

For further information, please contact:

Matt Pearson, Press & PR Manager
matthew.pearson@cifas.org.uk
+44 (0)20 4551 7956

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Posted by: Cifas Press Team
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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Contact us at press@cifas.org.uk

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