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Recently Reported Scams
Council Tax Scams
Residents are being warned to be on their guard against a new scam that promises people a refund on their council tax bills.
Richmond Council has had reports that representatives from a company called ‘Unity’ are calling residents claiming that they are working with the Council to help residents claim a Council Tax refund.
The con is designed to capture sensitive financial information from victims. Armed with personal and banking details the fraudsters can harvest people’s bank accounts. People who are approached by this company should not provide any information because the Council handles refunds of council tax itself.
Criminals are sending out so-called “phishing” emails using an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) email address that tells people they are due a council tax refund. The emails are designed to capture sensitive financial information from victims, either by taking them to a fake website or by downloading malicious software on to computers that allow the fraudsters to track and trace people’s internet usage. Armed with these details the fraudsters can then begin to harvest people’s bank accounts. People who receive this email should delete it straight away without accessing any web links or downloading any files it contains.
A resident received a phone call from a male stating he was Sargent Harris from Hammersmith Police Station. The male stated to the resident that they had got his debit card from his address, when the resident asked what the details were the male stated that he could not give that information and asked him to ring back on 161.
The resident hung up the phone and contacted police on another phone to report this scam.
This is a great example of an attempted phone scam and great crime prevention advice to everyone if they ever receive any phone calls similar to protect themselves becoming victims of fraud.
Deliveries: A person rings the doorbell and tells the person they have a package for them but the sender did not pay the full delivery charge. The rogue trader then asks if the recipient ‘wouldn’t mind’ paying a £1 shortfall. The delivery person then claims it is ‘not company policy’ to allow delivery people to take cash and ‘would you mind inserting your card into this card reader and enter your pin?’ The victim’s bank account is then emptied.
Rogue Traders: A cold-caller may offer you a service you don’t really need. They may try to push you into agreeing unnecessary home repairs or improvements, often at extortionate prices. Don’t agree to sign a contract or hand over any money until you have spoken to someone you trust. Never disclose your pin number. Don’t be afraid to ask a salesperson to leave.
Bogus officials: A common trick is when someone pretends to be from your electricity or gas company as a way to get into your home and steal from you. Ask for their identity card and check it carefully. Keep the numbers for your utilities services handy so you can easily call and check an official’s identity. Join your utilities companies’ password schemes.
Bogus charity collections: A fraudster may ask you to donate money, clothing or household goods for a charity. In fact this is a trick to steal money from you. Any items you give will be sold on. Legitimate charities must be registered with the Charity Commission and their registration details displayed on collection bags and envelopes.
Bogus charity collections: We are receiving reports of a male knocking at doors stating he is collecting sponsorship money for a charity bike ride that he did around Christmas time, he appears to be targeting women over 60. When asked if he has the sponsor form or any sponsor ship details he disappears, often on a bike. On some occasions he has called the occupants by name. Description is male, white, smartly dressed, has been seen in a leather jacket, sometimes on a bike, age has varied from mid 20s-40. Please do not give any money as this is a scam.
Fake consumer surveys: Some scammers ask you to complete a survey so they can get hold of your personal details, or use it as a cover for persuading you to buy something you don’t want or need. Ask for an identify card and check it carefully.
Hard luck stories: Someone with a hard luck story may come to your door and ask you to help them out with cash. The story they tell you is made up and intended to con you out of a lot of money. Never feel pressured into giving money to someone you don’t know. Call the police if you think you’re being scammed.
The first looks as though it is an order from Amazon, see attached image here. It looks genuine but please note the email address highlighted, which is a fake. The email is asking you to click on the help centre; this will normally take you to another link where they will ask you to confirm bank/card details. If you receive anything like this please just delete.
The second, which purported to be from HMRC saying a tax refund was due, had three main things which showed it was a scam:
- HMRC would not contact you about this by email and certainly, in this case, not directly to the recipient, as their tax is handled by an accountant,
- It said “click here for a refund” – HMRC does not pay refunds in this way,
- The email address was HMR & C and ended @shaw.ca – HMRC would have a suffix .gov.
The third is a scam e-mail that purports to come from the Metropolitan Police. Please delete this e-mail and do not open the attachment. The email sender is shown as email@example.com – This is not a valid Metropolitan Police email address. The subject is shown as Crime Prevention Advice. A file called 11212527.zip is shown as attached to the email. The text of the message is as follows:
TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC;
See attached document to read more about crime prevention advice.
Metropolitan Police Service.
Intelligence suggests that, if the attachment is opened, iSpy key logger malware is downloaded on to the host device. If you receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, do not open any attachments and report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk