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Police: Fake WannaCry emails demanding payment

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog


Action Fraud has received almost 300 reports in the past two days about fake WannaCry emails that demand payment from victims in Bitcoins. 
 

The WannaCry emails are designed to cause panic and trick you into believing that your computer is infected with WannaCry ransomware.  

In reality the emails are just a phishing exercise to try and extort money. The emails claim that all of your devices were hacked and your files will be deleted unless you pay a fine to the fraudsters in Bitcoin.

Taking advantage 

In May last year, WannaCry ransomware hit headlines after the NHS and other organisations globally were infected with the virus. 
 
This isn’t the first time fraudsters have used WannaCry as a way to trick people. Last year we also saw reports from victims who received pop-ups on their computers that claimed they had been infected with WannaCry. The pop-ups asked people to call a phone number that led to Tech-Support scammers.
 
In the same month, fraudsters also used the global WannaCry ransomware attack as a hook to try...

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Police: £22 million lost to rental fraud

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog
  • Between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2018, 18,645 reports relating to rental fraud were made to Action Fraud.
     
  • In the same period, victims reported losing £22,103,940 to rental fraud – an average of £1,396 per victim.
     
  • Action Fraud is now warning potential tenants, and students in particular, to spot the signs of rental fraud when searching for a property. 

Rental fraud happens when prospective tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property. In reality, the property does not exist, has already been rented out, or has been rented to multiple victims at the same time. Victims will lose the upfront fee they have paid and are not able to rent the property they thought they had secured. In 429 cases, victims reported losing £5,000 or more. 

Fraudsters will often make contact with their victims online. The adverts will seem genuine and are often accompanied by photos and contact information. In some cases the victim will view the property in person, but in most cases the payment is made without prior...

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Police: More than £3 million lost to ticket fraud in one year prompts a warning from Action Fraud

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog
  • Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, Action Fraud received 6,486 reports of ticket fraud. 
     
  • In the same period, the total reported losses to victims were £3,344,835; an average of £568 per victim
     
  • With lots of music concerts and sporting events taking place in summer, it is an opportunity for fraudsters to take advantage of unsuspecting fans.

How is this happening?

Earlier this year, Action Fraud warned football fans planning to travel to the World Cup to be cautious when buying tickets or accommodation because the event is likely to be targeted by fraudsters looking to take advantage of unsuspecting fans.

Action Fraud saw a spike in reporting in June 2017, in which 1,072 reports were made. This suggests that fraudsters are taking advantage of people during the peak season for ticketed events.

Fraudsters will pose as a website or agent for a music concert or festival, a sporting contest such as the World Cup, or a live comedian or performer. Victims will purchase...

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Police: Nine people to be sentenced following Action Fraud reports

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

Nine people are to be sentenced after an investigation by Essex Police for ticket fraud involving 309 victims who were conned out of high profile sporting tickets. 

In 2014 and 2015 there were over 550 complaints to Action Fraud from people who had purchased tickets to events but never received them or a refund. 

In total the 309 victims lost in excess of £360,000 trying to buy tickets to the Rugby World Cup 2015, Formula One and the Mayweather versus Pacquiao fight.

Analysing reports 

The Action Fraud reports were assessed and analysed by experts within the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) who passed them onto Essex Police.  

The NFIB also sent the City of London Police’s Disruptions Team the evidence they needed to take a fake website selling Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets offline, which they did successfully. The fraudsters changed hosts and got it up and running again, but the City of London Police which runs Action Fraud, disrupted it again preventing further victims. 

Essex Police then...

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Police: HMRC has saved the public over £2.4M by stopping fraudsters

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has saved the public over £2.4m by taking down websites that trick people into calling premium rate phone numbers for services that HMRC provide for free.

Fraudsters had been creating replica versions of HMRC’s website and directing the public to call premium rate numbers advertised on them. These numbers were simply call forwarding services that connect callers to HMRC, but at a significant price.

HMRC said that specific tactics and costs on each website varied, but the maximum cost of a call was £3.60 a minute, capped at £36 per call. HMRC’s own 0300 numbers are mostly free or charged at the national landline rate.

HMRC successfully challenged the ownership of these fraudulent websites and had them taken down. Analysis has shown that had HMRC not taken this action then the public would have lost over £2.4 million. 

Scams Awareness Month

This announcement from HMRC comes at the start of Scams Awareness Month organised by Citizens Advice which is running throughout...

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Police: Sharp rise in fake TSB text messages and phishing emails

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog
  • Action Fraud is warning the public about a sharp rise in fraudsters sending out fake text messages and phishing emails claiming to be from TSB. 
     
  • Since the start of May, there have been 321 phishing reports made to Action Fraud – an increase on the previous month where 30 reports were made.
     
  • In the same reporting period, there have been 51 reports of cybercrime to Action Fraud which mention TSB – an increase on the previous month, where 24 reports were made.
     
  • Action Fraud and TSB are working together to combat fraud and help keep all consumers safe.

How is this happening?

The increase in the number of reports being sent to Action Fraud is in part linked to the system issue some TSB customers have experienced over recent weeks. Opportunistic fraudsters are using TSB’s system issue to target people with this type of fraud. TSB, or any bank, will never ask for a PIN, password or full memorable information by email or text. 

Fraudsters are commonly using text messages as a way to defraud unsuspecting...

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Police: Fraudsters taking advantage of the HMRC tax refund process

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are currently processing tax refunds after the end of the tax year and criminals are taking advantage by sending out phishing emails and text messages.
 

The fraudulent emails and texts include links which take victims to fake websites where their personal and financial information can be stolen. 
 

In March 2018, HMRC requested 2,672 phishing websites be taken down and received 84,549 phishing reports. HMRC have warned that this kind of phishing is expected to continue in the coming months as genuine tax refunds are issued.

Tax refunds only come through the post or your employer 

Treasury Minister, Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said: “HMRC only informs you about tax refunds through the post or through your pay via your employer. All emails, text messages, or voicemail messages saying you have a tax refund are a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages and forward them to HMRC’s phishing email address and phone number.
 

“We know that...

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Police: Action Fraud warning to the public as equine fraud costs victims £70,000

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog
  • Action Fraud is warning the equestrian community about a scam involving fake adverts of horses for sale.
     
  • Victims are told to pay an up-front fee for the horse and it’s shipment only to later find that it doesn’t exist.
     
  • Between 2014 and 2017, victims lost £68,717 to this fraud; an average of £3,436 per victim.

Action Fraud is warning horse buyers about fraudulent ‘for sale’ adverts. Fraudsters are placing fake adverts on reputable equestrian sale websites to scam victims out of large amounts of money. Fraudsters will even support their claims of the horse’s existence by supplying copies of relevant ownership documents, pictures and videos of the animal.   

Although the adverts claim the horses are located in the UK, victims are later told that they’re located elsewhere in Europe and that the horse’s shipment can be arranged via an animal transport company. 
 
On agreeing to buy the horse, victims are then contacted by someone who claims to be an agent of the transport...

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Police: Fraudsters offering discounts on TV subscriptions

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog

Action Fraud have noticed an increase in reports where fraudsters are offering victims discounts on their TV subscription, or told their account needs to be renewed. 

How does this scam work?

Fraudsters are cold-calling victims, purporting to be from a Television (TV) provider offering a discount on their monthly subscription. Victims are usually told;

  • Their subscription needs to be renewed.
  • Part of (or all) of their TV equipment has expired.
  • They are due an upgrade on their equipment/subscription package. 

In order to falsely process the discount, the fraudster asks victims to confirm or provide their bank account details. The scammers may also request the victim’s identification documents, such as scanned copies of passports.

Later victims make enquiries and then discover that their TV service provider did not call them and that the fraudster has made transactions using the victim’s bank account details.

Affecting people nationwide

This type of fraud is nationwide. Since the beginning of this year (2018), there have...

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Police: Action Fraud warns of Hajj fraud, as criminals target Muslims booking trips to Mecca

Written by RSS Poster ActionFraud's blog
  • Action Fraud is raising awareness of Hajj related fraud, in a drive to increase reporting and to protect individuals from falling victim.
  • In 2017, the average reported loss to victims was £5,869.
  • Between 2013 and 2017, the crimes had a total reported value of £988,743.

What is Hajj fraud?

Up to 25,000 British Muslims will be booking trips to Mecca over the coming months to perform Hajj in the autumn.

As Hajj approaches, a number of individuals who have paid for a tour package for themselves and their family will discover their dreams have been shattered by fraudsters.

Some could arrive in Saudi Arabia to find the accommodation they booked does not exist. Others may realise that their whole trip is in fact a scam set up by illegitimate travel operators who have disappeared with thousands of pounds of their money.

Between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 there were 17 reports of Hajj related fraud made to Action Fraud, marking a 143% increase on the previous year’s reporting...

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Latest ActionFraud\'s Blog Stories

Fake WannaCry emails demanding payment
£22 million lost to rental fraud
More than £3 million lost to ticket fraud in one year prompts a warning from Action Fraud
Nine people to be sentenced following Action Fraud reports
HMRC has saved the public over £2.4M by stopping fraudsters

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