Fraud Focus – advice for online shoppers, reservation fraud and fake tax refunds
9 March 2023
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.
Shopping online? Use your card
Get Safe Online is urging online shoppers to pay for goods using their credit card as research reveals a rise in fraudsters taking advantage of the cost-of-living crisis. Their research has shown that more that eight million UK shoppers have fallen victim to online purchase fraud at least once in the last year, with 30% noticing an increase in fake websites and sellers.
Online shoppers should always check the legitimacy of websites by using the Check-a-Website online tool by visiting www.getsafeonline.org/checkawebsite.
Diners warned of reservation fraud
Online reservation service OpenTable is urging restaurants and diners to be alert to fraudsters impersonating employees in order to steal credit card details from customers. Cifas understands that criminals have been contacting restaurants claiming to work for Open Table to request their login details. Fraudsters then call diners to request they make a deposit to secure their booking, taking the banking details from unsuspecting diners in order to commit fraud.
Cifas is reminding people to question uninvited calls asking for personal or financial advice, and contact companies directly using a known email or phone number.
HMRC warns of tax refund scam
HMRC has issued a warning following reports of fake emails offering ‘tax refunds’. Criminals purporting to be from HMRC have been sending emails claiming recipients are owed a refund and asking for financial details in order to process payment.
HMRC is reminding people that they will never send notifications of a tax rebate or ask them to disclose personal or payment information by email. Anyone receiving a suspicious email claiming to be from HMRC can forward it to email@example.com and texts to 60599.
Fake Disney+ subscription emails
Cifas has received reports of phishing emails being sent to customers offering a 98% discount on subscriptions to the Disney + service. The email contains a malicious link, and users are asked to create an account by entering their email address, password, gender and home address.
Anyone receiving this or a similar email should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org or by selecting ‘Report spam’ on Gmail, ‘Report phishing’ on Hotmail or by forwarding emails to email@example.com is using a Yahoo account.
Air Fryer phishing scams
Cifas is warning the public to be vigilant following reports of emails claiming to be from Argos stating that recipients will receive a Ninja Air Fryer if they complete a survey. There is a time limit on the offer, and the link within the email asks for personal and financial information.
The public are being reminded never to click on links in emails or texts or share financial or personal information. Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud should tell their bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Amber Burridge, Head of Intelligence for of Cifas, said: ‘Criminals are always on the lookout for new ways to steal information with which to commit further fraud.
‘My advice is to stop and think carefully before responding to unsolicited calls, texts or emails, and never be afraid to challenge unsolicited requests for personal or financial information. Remember that just because someone appears to know your details, it doesn’t mean they’re genuine.’
Notes to Editors
Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2022, Cifas member organisations prevented around £1.3 billion of fraud losses.
Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud.
For more information, please contact Corinne Gladstone, Head of Strategic Communications, on 020 4551 7072 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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