For further reading matter on scams look at:
How to report a scam
- Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline to seek advice and report cases
- Action Fraud is the reporting service for fraud and cyber crime
- Online training to guard against scams is available from Friends Against Scams
Recently Reported Scams
The ‘Lebanese loop’: TA local resident had the misfortune to discover what this entails:
I was the victim of the ‘Lebanese loop’ scam last Thursday around 8 am at the Barclays ATM in the village. The fraud involves inserting a device into the cash machine so that it traps your card. When I could not recover my card, and the machine read ‘temporarily out of order’, I went across to Tesco and did my shopping. I noticed on returning that the Barclays machine was working again. Apparently the scammer waits around till the coast is clear and has the means of using the trapped card.
When I got home I rang NatWest to cancel the card, but on opening up online banking I noticed that £250 had been withdrawn from the Barclays cash machine. I got in touch with NatWest again and that’s when they mentioned the Lebanese loop; it is obviously something with which they are familiar.
The good news is that the new card arrived on Saturday, and yesterday I was informed that the £250 had been refunded to my account. My worry was that it was a debit card and I was not sure that has the same protection as a credit card. The irony was that I went to Barclays later that Thursday to mention what had happened and they said the scam was practically a weekly occurrence. What surprises me is the lack of awareness (particularly mine) of the a) scam and b) what counter measures should be used to prevent it.
Parking Payment: There appear to be two young black males targeting council public parking machines at locations such as Kew Village, Ferry Lane, Richmond Green and Old Deer Park.
It appears that when someone tries to pay for parking by card, the ‘scammers’ appear alongside them and engage them in conversation, on occasion mentioning that the machine isn’t working properly and trying to get them to put in another card.
This card may then be retained and the suspect passes them a phone to speak to someone at the parking department to get their card back. After a short while (5-10 minutes), the card is ejected and the suspects disappear. However, in that period of time, money has been taken from their account or, in other cases, it appears that the scammers manage to retain the victim’s card, which they then use fraudulently by chip and pin .
In most cases, there have been large amounts of money taken (£300 and upwards).
The 12 Scams of Christmas can be found here.
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.
Richmond Council is aware of a Council Tax refund scam that is currently operating across the borough.
A number of residents have reported that they received a text from someone purporting to be from the “Council” saying that they are due a refund on their Council Tax. If people click on the link, they are sign posted to a fake Government website, which then asks for personal data.
Scams can happen in a number of ways, either by phone, email, text or at the front door. The fraudsters may use a number of tactics to get you to part with your money including:
• Asking you to pay a fee in order to get the refund
• Asking for your bank details
• Asking for your card details and pin number
• Claiming that you have to pay a fee to challenge your Council Tax Band or that you must have an agent representing you to do this.
Richmond Council does not initially contact residents regarding Council Tax refunds by text or phone.
Bogus Police: 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.
Bogus Police: Richmond Council and the Metropolitan Police are urging people to be vigilant of potential phone scams with £100,000 lost in the London Borough of Richmond in the last six months and at least 70 people falling victim to a scam. he scam typically involves a person claiming to be calling from the police and investigating a crime. They often ask for bank account details or help in undercover operations by getting the person to withdraw large sums of money from their account. Local resident, Mrs Jones, received just such a call. She said:
“My friend and I were about to go out when the phone rang with the caller claiming to be from New Scotland Yard’s Fraud Department. They asked whether I’d lost my card and I said no. He told me someone up north was taking money from my account and would I help in an undercover operation to catch them. They asked me to go and withdraw £7,000 form my account but the bank refused. The scammer told me to go to Richmond to buy a Rolex. I did what they asked because people in my age group completely trust the police – I didn’t for a second think it was a scam.”
Luckily for Mrs Jones her bank was vigilant enough to stop her withdrawal and recognise a scam but some people may not be as lucky.
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.
Undelivered Item: Unless you are expecting a parcel – don’t call the number!!!! “A card was put through my door about the second week in October saying that they had been unable to deliver a parcel, would I please ring them to arrange a time for delivery. As I was not expecting a parcel I was puzzled, also my husband was home and said no one had knocked on the door. I decided it was a mistake and that they had the wrong house number and thankfully I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right. If I had rung that number and started to hear a recorded message I would have already been billed £315 for the phone call.”
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.
Amazon: 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.
TV Licensing: The council is warning the public to be aware of an email scam which aims to steal bank details. The unsolicited emails look exactly like communications from TV Licensing asking for details to be renewed. The messages contain links to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information. The emails say customers must update their details urgently or their TV licence will expire.
TV Licensing: Phishing email doing the rounds. This time from TV Licencing offering a refund. Don’t click the links!
HMRC: Purporting 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.
A sample of such a scam can be seen here.
HMRC will never send notifications of a tax refund or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email. Please click here to see a list of their currently identified scams.
Met Police: Purporting to come from the Metropolitan Police. Please delete this e-mail and do not open the attachment. The email sender is shown as firstname.lastname@example.org – 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 email@example.com, do not open any attachments and report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk
Notice of Intended Prosecution: Purporting to be a Notice of Intended Prosecutions (NIP) from Greater Manchester Police where by the recipient has been named by the registered keeper as the driver at the time of the speeding offence. DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS within the email and preferably DO NOT OPEN the email – these things contain malware, spyware and ransomware and are used to hack into your computer and attach viruses to it.
A real NIP will be sent by police in the post and not by email.
The clue that it is spam is in the sender’s email address (see below) – clearly NOT a police email!
From: “Paul Martineau” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Speed Fine Notification
Date: 3 November 2017 at 11:50:02