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Fraud Focus - rise in ‘Hello Mum’ scams, bank card scams, and cheap malware offers

25 July 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.

Rise in WhatsApp ‘Hello Mum’ Scams

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has this week warned of the continued increase in scams where victims are targeted by criminals on WhatsApp claiming to be someone they know – typically their children. Fraudsters usually begin the conversation with ‘Hello Mum’ or ‘Hello Dad’ and will claim they are texting from a new mobile number as their phone was lost or damaged. They will then ask for money to purchase a new phone or that they need money urgently to pay a bill. The criminal then provides bank details for the payment, with some coming back with further demands for money.

Between 3rd February - 21st June 2022, there were 1,235 reports made to Action Fraud linked to this scam, with total losses exceeding £1.5m.

Cifas is reminding people to stop and think carefully before parting with their money or information, and always check the validity of the sender. If you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, then contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or Police Scotland by dialling 101.

Cost of living scams to look out for- Bank Card Refund scams

Cifas has learned of several scams targeting consumers as the rise in living costs continues to impact household budgets. One such scam involves bank card refunds, where the fraudster claims they can help you get a refund on things such as debit card purchases for a fee. Ultimately the fraudster is harvesting your personal and financial information, to then set up a device on your account and gives them access to your bank account.

Cifas is asking the public to be careful of these scams which could result in the theft of your personal and financial information. Remember to Stop, Challenge and Protect before you ever part with your personal and financial information and always talk to your bank if you are in difficulty rather than a third-party offering help on social media.

Buy ‘plug-n-play’ malware for the price of a pint of beer

Cifas understands that a wide variety of malware is being easily obtained from underground marketplaces for as little as $10 (£8.40) – around the cost of a pint of beer in London. A recent report by HP’s endpoint security unit HP Wolf Security, has revealed that the price of cyber criminality is tumbling, with the majority of malware now retailing at under $10.

Cifas is reminding people to ensure their computer has a firewall and reputable anti-virus software. Take care downloading files, and if you don’t know someone who’s sent you an email with an attachment or unsure about a website offering a file, then delete it – don’t risk downloading it.

Amber Burridge, Head of Fraud Intelligence at Cifas, said: ‘Criminals continue to use a variety of ways to take advantage of people struggling with the cost of living crisis. The sophistication of cyber-enabled attacks such as phishing and smishing continues to grow, and once criminals obtain someone’s personal and financial details, it’s likely they will be used to facilitate identity fraud, which accounted for over 60% of cases filed to the National Fraud Database last year.

‘If you are ever asked to provide personal or financial information or supply your documents, then take a moment and think carefully about the consequences of parting with your details. Remember that only criminals will try to rush or panic you into making a quick decision.’

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Ione Gyamfi, Press & PR Manager
ione.gyamfi@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

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