The 12 Frauds of Christmas

Stay Safe

Dated: 23 November 2017 Author: Allan Maund, Head of Counter Fraud Services

The Christmas period is nearly upon us and Black Friday and its online equivalent Cyber Monday, will result in millions of purchases in store and online. Unfortunately, it is also prime time for a fraudster to steal what is yours, from you. Not content with taking your purchases, or money, they could steal your identity.

Fraud is a significant crime in England and Wales, which continues to increase year on year. Official statistics are not released until January 2018; however, current estimates indicate there was approximately four million fraud transactions committed in the previous year, with 57% of these committed on-line. The West and East Midlands has seen the largest growth in identity theft across the country.

It's not all bad news. There are steps you can take to stop yourself being a victim. The 12 frauds of Christmas, provide examples of different types of fraud, these include some of the warning signs and what to do. In all circumstances, if you are concerned you are the victim of fraud you should report it immediately. 

Don’t be a victim.  

The 12 Frauds of Christmas

Our 12 Frauds

1. What is Internet Fraud?
2. What is CyberCrime?
3. What is Identity Fraud?
4. What is Phishing?
5. What is Vishing and Smishing?
6. What is Missed Delivery Fraud?
7. What is Courier Fraud?
8. What is Counterfeit Goods Fraud?
9. What is Charity Fraud?
10. What is Cash Machine Fraud?
11. What is Cheque Fraud?
12. What is Mobile Phone Fraud?

 

1. What is Internet Fraud?

Internet fraud is a type of fraud which makes use of the internet, and can vary in type and form. For example: e-mail spam, online scams, credit card fraud, ticket fraud, charity fraud, automotive fraud and gambling fraud.

Legal definition: A crime in which the perpetrator develops a scheme using one or more elements of the Internet to deprive a person of property or any interest, estate, or right by a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by providing misleading information or by concealment of information.

What is Internet Fraud

Organised Crime Networks

Organised crime has been quick to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet, particularly the growth in e-commerce and online banking. Specialist criminal groups target individuals, small businesses and large corporate networks to steal personal information in bulk to profit from the compromised data available to them.

Top 10 tips to avoid being a victim of Internet Fraud:

2. What is CyberCrime?

The term cybercrime refers to a variety of crimes carried out online, using the Internet through computers, laptops, tablets, internet-enabled televisions, games consoles and smart phones.

What is CyberCrime

Top 10 tips to avoid being a victim of CyberCrime:

3. What is Identity Fraud?

Identity Fraud is best described as the use of a stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception.

The West and East Midlands has the unenviable distinction of having the highest increase of identify fraud in the UK. Your personal information is valuable, act now to protect it.

Did you know Fraudsters can use your identity details to:

 How will you know?

 The first you know of it may be when you receive bills or invoices for things you haven’t ordered, or when you receive letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.

 Many victims never establish how their details were obtained.

 You should:

 If you think that you are a victim of identity fraud - act quickly

 Do not ignore the problem - it might not be you that has ordered some goods or opened an account, but the debt falls to your name and address.

4. What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of fraud where criminals send emails to trick you into clicking links, opening attachments, or divulging information. The emails are designed to steal information, download viruses or stop your device working properly.

Protect yourself

Don’t assume anyone who’s sent you an email is who they say they are.

If an email asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious.

If the email is from a bank or building society, remember, banks never email you for passwords or any other sensitive information by clicking on a link and visiting a website. If you get a call from someone who claims to be from your bank, don't give away any personal details.

Make sure your spam filter is on your emails. If you find a suspicious email, mark it as spam and delete it to keep out similar emails in future.

If in doubt, check it’s genuine by asking the company itself. Never call numbers or follow links provided in suspicious emails; find the official website or customer support number using a separate browser and search engine.

Spot the signs

Their spelling, grammar, graphic design or image quality is poor quality. They may use odd ‘spe11lings’ or ‘cApiTals’ in the email subject to fool your spam filter.

If they know your email address but not your name, it’ll begin with something like ‘To our valued customer’, or ‘Dear...’ followed by your email address.

They warn you of sudden changes in an account which require action.

The website or email address doesn’t look right; authentic website addresses are usually short and don’t use irrelevant words or phrases. Businesses and organisations don’t use web-based addresses such as Gmail or Yahoo.

Money’s been taken from your account, or there are withdrawals or purchases on your bank statement that you don’t remember making.

5. What is Vishing and Smishing?

Fraudsters will call your landline or mobile, pretending to be from your bank, building society, a government agency or someone you do business with. This is known as vishing (voice + fishing).

Alternatively, they’ll send you a text message that asks you to reply with your personal or banking details, or to call or text a premium-rate number they have created to run up a large bill. This is called smishing (SMS + fishing).

Protect yourself

Don’t assume anyone who’s sent you an email or text message – or has called your phone or left you a voicemail message – is who they say they are.

If a phone call or voicemail, email or text message asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious. Real banks never email you for passwords or any other sensitive information by clicking on a link and visiting a website. If you get a call from someone who claims to be from your bank, don't give away any personal details.

Spot the signs

Money’s been taken from your account, or there are withdrawals or purchases on your bank statement that you don’t remember making.

You receive a significantly higher than normal mobile phone bill.

6. What is Missed Delivery Fraud?

In the summer of 2017 the latest form of Missed Delivery fraud landed on the door mats of residents in the UK.

The latest scam was ‘something for you’ cards designed to look like they came from the Royal Mail. The cards lacked the Royal Mail logo but appeared almost identical to the ‘something for you’ slips that are posted through homes when a Royal Mail delivery wasn’t made. 

The ‘something for you’ cards urged recipients to call a 0208 number, which was not registered to Royal Mail. After ringing the number, the automated message asked for your details and consignment number.

At the time of the scam a spokesperson from the Royal Mail said “The Royal Mail security team is looking into this incident as a matter of urgency. Customers should check delivery cards very carefully to ensure they are genuine, and remain vigilant. Although this card is similar to one of our Something For You cards, the Royal Mail logo is crucially missing”.

This particular fraud can be undertaken by a fraudster copying the layout and design of any courier company, not just the Royal Mail.

Protect yourself

If in doubt, do not call the number provided, give your card details or personal information. If you are able to, verify the delivery company details on line and use the contact numbers provided on their official website.

7. Courier Fraud

As the countdown to Christmas approaches with an increase of purchases by debit and credit card, fraudsters are as eager as ever to obtain your bank cards. The elderly are the most susceptible victims to courier fraud and with most fraud losses, there is no guarantee you will get your money back if you are scammed.

What is courier fraud?

Typically, you will be telephoned by someone pretending to be from your bank or building society and they convince you to tell them your card details over the phone. They will then arrange for a courier to pick up your card to ‘take it away for evidence’ or ‘to have it destroyed’.

Spot the signs

Someone claiming to be from your bank or local police force calls you to tell you about fraudulent activity on your account, but they ask you for personal information or even your PIN to verify who you are.

The caller may well suggest you call them back, so you can be sure they’re genuine, but when you try to return the call there’s no dial tone.

They try to offer you peace of mind by having somebody pick up the card for you to save you the trouble of having to go to your bank or local police station.

Protect yourself

Your bank or the police will never call you to ask you to verify your personal details or PIN by phone or offer to pick up your card by courier. Hang up.

If you do need to call your bank back to check, wait at least five minutes; fraudsters may stay on the line after you hang up, you may end up speaking with them or their fellow fraudsters as they keep the line open. Alternatively, use a different phone to call your bank. Use the phone number on the reverse of your card or if you can check on your bank’s website.

Do not rely on caller ID displayed on your phone as means of verification. Fraudsters have the technology to replicate authentic numbers on caller displays.

Your card is yours – don’t let a stranger take it off you.

If you’ve given your bank details over the phone or handed your card to a courier, call your bank straight away to cancel the card. 

8. What is Counterfeit Goods Fraud?

Counterfeit goods fraud typically occurs where any product such as designer clothes, accessories, electricals or cosmetics are fake, but sold as authentic.

They’re presented using the intellectual property of a well-known brand, so the seller can make a large profit, even though to you it might look like a bargain.

Protect yourself

Check the quality and labels first. It’s easy to spot a fake as their labels have spelling mistakes or other distinguishing marks.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting a great deal.

Get the trader to tell you if they provide an after-sales service, warranty or guarantee. Most rogue traders don’t.

Spot the signs

You’ve bought an item and found it’s not made by the brand it claims to be from.

 It’s poor quality, which might make the product unusable or even unsafe.

Many counterfeit goods are sold on-line, at car boot sales, pubs, markets or fairs. This makes it difficult to trace the seller once you’ve bought.

How it happens

Counterfeit goods include fake clothes, bags, accessories and perfumes that imitate recognised brands, as well as poor-quality pirated copies of DVDs, CDs and computer games. They can be sold at markets, in pubs or door-to-door. Counterfeits can also be found at online auctions and web marketplaces, where you have no way of checking whether the products are genuine until you’ve paid and had them delivered.

If you buy something that isn’t as described, or isn’t satisfactory quality, you have statutory rights. This means you should be entitled to a refund or an exchange of goods. However, counterfeit sellers aren’t easy to track down.

If you buy counterfeit goods, you’re helping the trader to break the law. The money you’ve spent ends up funding organised crime such as drug dealing. You’re also contributing to job losses because genuine manufacturers are unable to match prices charged by rogue traders. Worst of all, you’re putting yourself at risk: some counterfeits can be dangerous to use and in some cases, are made using toxic substances.

9. What is Charity Fraud?

Charity fraud is typically where charity collectors prey on your sympathy by asking you to donate to a worthy cause.

Protect yourself

Spot the signs

How it happens

10. What is Cash Machine Fraud?

This is when your credit or debit card, or the card’s information, is taken by fraudsters when you use a cash machine or ATM.

Protect yourself

Spot the signs 

How it happens

11. What is Cheque Fraud?

Cheque fraud happens when criminals steal your chequebook or cheques to gain access to funds in your account. 

Cheque fraud operates in many ways. For example, a fraudster pays you for goods or services using a stolen cheque; or deposits a fraudulent or stolen cheque into your account; or steals individual cheques or a cheque book from you.

 Are you a victim of bank card or cheque fraud?

Your cards or chequebook have been stolen or faked and you notice unfamiliar transactions on your statement, or you find out that your overdraft limit is suddenly exceeded.

 What should you do if you’ve been a victim of bank card or cheque fraud?

12. What is Mobile Phone Fraud?

Mobile phone fraud involves a variety of scams that either persuade you to buy phone-related products/services that turn out to be substandard or non-existent; or to make phone calls or texts to premium services by accident; or to unknowingly sign up to expensive subscription services.

There are a variety of frauds that target you on your mobile. Here are some of the most common: 

What should you do if you’ve been a victim of mobile phone fraud?

Tell your mobile phone provider. 

Inform Phone-paid Services Authority www.psauthority.org.uk, which regulates premium numbers and has statutory powers to stop mobile phone frauds and fine the offenders.

If you text the word STOP to the subscription number, the sender is legally obliged to stop sending text messages immediately. If they don’t, contact Phone-paid Services Authority www.psauthority.org.uk, which investigates complaints about phone-paid services.

Protect yourself and your mobile or smart device from fraud  

 Need further assistance? 

For further information on any aspect of business fraud or corruption please contact us on 0800 298 3899 or email: enquiries@dains.com.

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