Weekly Fraud update from West Mercia Police – Economic Crime Unit – 02/11/2022

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 HMRC

 As we reach the deadline for tax returns on 31st October and online assessments at the end of January 2023, this is the key time to be aware of messages, or even phone calls, claiming to be from HMRC.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

  • Scammers may text or email people to tell them they are due a Tax Rebate from HMRC; this may also include a link that asks for personal details which can be used for further scams
  • Scammers are also using phone calls to gain people’s details
  • Automated phone calls may be used to say people owe tax, and arrest warrants may be issued by HMRC unless they pay the outstanding tax
  • Fake web pages have also been used which can copy the genuine HMRC website

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Before you give out any personal details first consider:

·         Were you expecting to be contacted? Check it is HMRC really contacting you

·         Are you being pressured?  If the request is for an urgent money transfer or for personal details be very wary

·         Are you being threatened with arrest? HMRC will never call you and threaten arrest

·         Is it sounding too good to be true?  Are you really expecting a Tax rebate?

·         Is the website or email address genuine? Always double check these details if you are unsure. Some more refined scams may use official details and logos so be aware

·         Check your personal tax account online to see if there are any genuine messages

·         If you think it is a scam, report it to HMRC as soon as possible for further investigations                                      

FESTIVE SHOPPING

As consumers search online for bargains and gifts for loved ones, fraudsters are seeing this as an opportunity to trick people with the promise of great deals and big cash savings, so be aware of those  ”Too good to be true” offers.

Do not get caught out this Christmas, and help protect yourself using the following guidelines:

·         If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality, fake or doesn’t exist.

·         Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud. Use a protected payment method such as a credit card.

·         Make sure you’ve installed the latest software & app updates. Criminals use weaknesses in software to attack your devices and steal information, such as your payment details.

·         Use a strong, separate password and 2-step verification to protect your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping.

·         Don’t click on any link in an unexpected email or text. The volume of online shopping related phishing emails increases during the holiday period. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

·         Always double check website addresses to make sure they are genuine, and beware of bargain sales offers on social media platforms

·         Every Report Matters – if you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

 POSTCODE LOTTERY

There have been reports of scam emails purporting to come from the Postcode Lottery and stating you have won in the draw.

They will then ask for authentication by requesting personal details and even photographs, and they use a fake email address.

The simple way to check if you have won a prize in a current or past draw is to visit the genuine Postcode lottery website and enter your postcode.

Take Five To Stop Fraud

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

For further information visit:

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/