The pension reforms which allow access to large lump sums from 55 have caused this type of scam to increase.
The individual is persuaded to move money into a fake investment fund or into an alluring investment such as gold, wine or cryptocurrencies with the promise of high returns.
Contact can be made via email, social media or by telephone and resulted in 3,385 individuals being scammed last year with a loss of approx £50 million.
The individual should not allow pressure sales tactics to rush them into any investment and they should verify that the company is authorised with the Financial Conduct Authority.
Contact often occurs via dating websites from an individual who quickly expresses strong emotions and asks many questions, however, provides little information.
Having built up a rapport online, without even necessarily having met the individual, the other party then claims that they require financial assistance for any of an array of different reasons
This type of scam led to 1,404 individuals being tricked into giving £13 million last year.
Research whether a profile is legitimate and do not make payment to individuals without being confident that they are genuine.
Advance Fee Scams
Victims are persuaded via email to part with money to release a larger amount, for example, that the victim has won a lottery overseas or that an inheritance is due and that money is required to be paid in order to obtain the promised goods.
There were 8,133 reported victims of this type of scam last year who lost a total of £14 million
Individuals should be suspicious of any unexpected chances to make money, particularly when they have not entered a lottery or are aware of a relative who has apparently left significant sums of money to them.
This scam uses emails that look genuine as well as real time information from the victims previous communications and it involves the redirection of legitimate invoices to new bank accounts to the benefit of the fraudulent party.
For example, a house buyer may receive an email that appears to be legitimate as it relates to the current purchase of a house and appears to be from their conveyancing solicitor, however, is actually a fraud. The email requests that money for the transaction is made to a new bank account. Once payment is made the funds are withdrawn by the fraudster and lost.
Last year this type of scam affected 7,544 reported victims who lost a total of £124 million.
To avoid this type of fraud, the individual should verify any bank details directly with the beneficiary through any channel of communication before first making the payment. For example, if an email was received, the individual should phone the company using the phone number from another source.
The victims is an employee who is convinced by an individual that they are being contacted by their CEO tom make an urgent payment.
The fraudster may break into the company email system or use spoofing software to send the email(s).
This type of fraud was report 603 times last year at an estimated cost of £15 million.
Impersonation of Bank Staff
The victim receives a call or text message apparently from their bank that claims there has been suspected fraudulent activity on their account and that they need to contact the phone number provided to confirm all transactions.
When the number is called the other party requests information from the caller such as passcode and name as well as information to allow for access to the victims online bank account.
The contents of the bank account is then withdrawn by the other party through the online banking portal.
In order to avoid this, do not phone an individual from the phone number given within email or SMS, instead, access the bank website and use the number provided.
Last year this type of fraud was report 5,459 times at an estimated loss of £57 million.
The criminal claims to represent a company or government department and asked to pay fictitious fines, pay overdue taxes or return refunds.
The fraudster may request access to the victims computer claiming that they need to fix a problem and are made convincing through the use of Internet activity demonstrated on the victims computer.
Last year this type of fraud was reported 5,465 times at an estimated loss of £36 million.
When contacted by a company, the individual should visit the website of that company directly and call the number given on the site. Never provide any information or access to you computer whether physically or remotely.
Fake websites target businesses who trade with Europe and pose as HM Revenue and Customs via email and phone.
The individual claims that the company must apply for a “UK Trader Number” before Brexit.
About Athena Forensics
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