FRAUD FOCUS – ROYAL MAIL SCAMS, VISA FRAUD AND A RISE IN LOAN-FEE FRAUD
20 December 2022
19 December 2022 FRAUD FOCUS – ROYAL MAIL SCAMS, VISA FRAUD AND A RISE IN LOAN-FEE FRAUD
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.
Royal Mail ‘missed delivery’ scam email
A 'missed delivery' scam email purporting to be from Royal Mail is currently in circulation and has now been reported to police more than 400 times. The email states that ‘your parcel is on hold’ before asking for a fee to have it delivered. A link included in the email is to a fraudulent website which is designed to steal personal information from the user.
With Christmas less than a week away and further strike dates planned by Royal Mail, it is very likely that there will be an increase in this type of fraud over the next few days.
Cifas is reminding people that Royal Mail or the Post Office will never send a text or an email asking for fees upfront to redeliver.
People can report suspected scam texts to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726 which spells ‘SPAM’ on their phone keypad.
UK travellers issued scam warning as Europe visa launches next year
In 2023 the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias) visa waiver will come into effect, meaning that travellers from 60 countries - including the UK - will have to apply for visa exemption when heading to any of the 27 member countries.
Cifas understands that UK travellers are already being targeted by fraudsters asking users to participate in the application process and encouraging them to submit their personal information and credit card details using fake websites.
British travellers can buy the new waiver for €7 which will last for three years from the date of issue, however the system is not expected to launch until November 2023.
Cifas is reminding people to never click on suspicious weblinks in emails as these are designed to steal personal and financial details which can then be used for identity theft. To check whether a website is legitimate, use the Check a Website service at www.getsafeonline.org/checkawebsite.
Anyone that believes they have visited a website that is suspicious can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.
WhatsApp data breach sees nearly 500 million user records up for sale
Cifas understands that fraudsters have been using a well-known hacker forum to sell over 487 million stolen mobile numbers used on WhatsApp. More than 32 million of these numbers are said to be from users in the US, with 11 million from UK users.
The stolen data is likely to now be used by criminals to contact users and attempt to elicit personal and financial information.
Anyone that believes they have been the victim of fraud must contact their bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud.
Customers can report suspected scam texts to their mobile network provider by forwarding them to 7726. Suspicious emails can be sent to email@example.com, the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) suspicious email reporting service.
Festive shoppers warned of loan fee scams
With many consumers facing financial stress over the Christmas period as a result of the cost of living crisis, instances of loan fee fraud – where a consumer pays a fee for a loan they never receive – have started to rise.
As a result, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning of increased risk of loan fee fraud this Christmas, with cases already up by a fifth on last year. They are reminding consumers that being asked to provide an upfront payment for a loan is very often a sign of a scam.
The Financial Services Register can be used to check whether a loan provider is FCA regulated, and consumers should also remain vigilant around fake loan providers falsely claiming to be a genuine regulated organisation.
Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: ‘The festive period is giving fraudsters even more opportunities to steal personal and financial information from the unsuspecting public. Criminals use a wide variety of tactics to commit fraud, and just taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
‘Be extra vigilant over the holiday period and don’t let criminals ruin your Christmas.’
Notes to Editors
For more information, please contact Corinne Gladstone on 020 4551 7072 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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